The first-ever away session of the National Assembly, organized to celebrate the 1050th anniversary of Poland's baptism and the beginnings of Polish statehood, was held today in Poznań. A special address was delivered by President Andrzej Duda before the combined Houses of Parliament and numerous guests from Poland and abroad. - In 966 one of the most important historical events in the history of Poland and Poles took place. Mieszko I, prince of Poznań and Gniezno, decided to accept baptism," said Sejm Speaker Marek Kuchciński, opening the proceedings in the Earth Hall of the Poznań International Fair. The ceremony began with the national anthem.
In his speech, the Speaker of the Sejm stressed that Mieszko I's decision changed the moral order, daily and public life and social relations in our lands for centuries. - The Polish state and its people were then permanently linked to Christian Europe and Rome - the capital of the papacy and the center of European civilization. The fate of Poland and the Poles was linked to the history of the universal Church - Marek Kuchcinski recalled. As he added, the Church became the institution on which the construction of the state and the nation was based. - Poles, fighting for a free and independent Republic, defended faith and the Church at the same time (...)," Marshal Kuchcinski said. He pointed to symbols of Polish historical memory firmly rooted in Christianity, among which he mentioned the 1683 Battle of Vienna and the 1920 Battle of Warsaw.
Marek Kuchcinski also spoke about the current importance of the Roman Catholic faith, which gives identity to Poles, the Polish community and families not only on a national scale, but also beyond its borders. As he said, "the authorities of the independent Republic derived from the Solidarity tradition are today reaching back to the foundations of our statehood, inseparable from Christianity." - What unites us, modern Poles, is the conviction that both the baptism performed in 966 and the Millennium celebrated in 1966 are milestones in our history, expressions of historical wisdom, success and responsibility for the State and its people - he pointed out.
During the historic session of the National Assembly, Senate Speaker Stanislaw Karczewski solemnly read out the text of the resolutions on the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, previously adopted by the Sejm and Senate - the full text of document.
President Andrzej Duda spoke about the great importance of baptism and Christian heritage in shaping the fate of Poland and Poles in his address. - The baptism of Prince Mieszko I is the most important event in the entire history of the Polish state and nation (...). The decision of our first, historical ruler decided the entire, later future of our country - he stressed. The president noted that in 966 Poland was born into a new Christian life. - It was born for the world, emerging from the pre-historic era and entering the arena of European history. It was born for us and for itself as a national and political community - Andrzej Duda said.
According to the president, the adoption of baptism in the Latin rite defined Polish identity. - We said yes to freedom and self-determination then. We said that we are ready to build a nation and nurturing its prosperity our own state, to create it, to defend it, and when necessary to die for it - Andrzej Duda said. As the president added, it was possible to build a community "on the foundation of faith, which has since grown permanently into our identity, becoming in the process of history often the most important and last shield of freedom and solidarity."
The adoption of baptism by our ancestors was, in the opinion of Andrzej Duda, the core around which the great Polish nation was formed. The president described 966 as "the most important caesura in our history," while the ongoing jubilee celebrations as "a celebration of the 1050th birthday of our nation and homeland." - This is a great celebration of Polishness, which is a source of our pride and joy. And we will continue it throughout the country for months to come. In turn, its culmination will be the first visit to Poland of the Holy Father Pope Francis and World Youth Day - said the president.
– There is a tremendous power within us, the source of which is precisely our common national, Christian identity. A power that has manifested itself several times in recent centuries in our history. The power that helped us survive the worst experiences, the loss of civil liberties and an independent state, attempts at nationalization and de-Christianization. The power thanks to which, in confrontation with enemies, invaders, occupiers, we were able to prevail and emerge from these experiences even stronger and more united - Andrzej Duda stressed. Of this indomitable national spirit, he pointed out, Poles have always been, are and will always be proud, and want to continue to draw on this wealth.
In his speech, the president recalled the words of St. John Paul II, which he said before Poland's entry into the European Union: "Europe needs Poland, and Poland needs Europe. - Therefore, paying tribute to our far-sighted predecessors of 1050 years ago, I would like to strongly express my conviction that, following the guidance of our great compatriot, Poland is and will remain faithful to its Christian heritage, for in it we have a tried and tested, strong foundation for the future," Andrzej Duda noted.
According to President Duda, entering the circle of Christian civilization in the Latin rite was a real breakthrough. - The three pillars of this civilization have also become the pillars of Polish identity and culture - he said. Among these pillars, Andrzej Duda mentioned Greek philosophy, the love of wisdom, the primacy of objective truth and precise tools for knowing and analyzing reality. The second foundation, according to the president, is Roman legal and political thought, the idea of the rule of law, the concept of the republic and the civic ethos. Meanwhile, the third pillar mentioned by Andrzej Duda is the Old and New Testaments, the Decalogue and the Gospel.
– We are not here forever, but we have a great duty to guard the foundations of our tradition and our culture. We have a duty to build a strong state, including as a great community of our people, based on what we have grown up on, what we have been raised on (...) - Andrzej Duda explained. He recalled that "we were brought up in the tradition of building a strong Poland, not only for us and our loved ones, but above all for future generations." - I firmly believe that we are up to the task - emphasized the president.
In addition to the head of state and parliamentarians, today's session of the National Assembly was attended by, among others: Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Beata Szydło, members of the Polish Bishops' Conference led by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki - Metropolitan of Poznań, Cardinal Pietro Parolin - Secretary of State of the Holy See and Papal Legate, as well as representatives of the most important Polish state institutions, European parliaments, the diplomatic corps and Polonia.
After the solemn session, participants listened to the premiere by the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra of "Oratorium966.pl," composed especially for the ceremony. A plaque commemorating the unique deliberations of the National Assembly was also unveiled on the grounds of the Poznań International Fair - the ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic of Poland and the Speakers of the Sejm and the Senate, among others.
As part of the celebrations of the 1050th anniversary of Poland's baptism, representatives of the highest state authorities, including Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchcinski, will still participate in a solemn Mass at Poznań Cathedral, among other events.