Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), and the Vice-presidents of the body, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Mgr. Stanisław Gądecki, will participate in the Beatification of Archbishop Theophilus Matulionis (1873-1962). “The Beatification of Matulionis – the CCEE explains in a statement – is the first beatification to be celebrated in Lithuania since the end of the era of Soviet totalitarianism”. In the Lithuanian capital, “famous for being the place which houses the first painting of Merciful Jesus, carried out under the indications of Sr Faustina Kowalska, and the painting of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, numerous civil and religious authorities, coming from various European nations, will participate in the beatification”. Commenting on the participation of the CCEE Presidency, the General Secretary Mgr Duarte da Cunha stated: “Europe was built also on the blood of the martyrs, such as Venerable Theophilus Matulionis, who under the Soviet, totalitarian and agnostic regime, spared no effort in defending the fundamental rights of each person and did all he could in particular to protect freedom of conscience”. The CCEE Presidency “wants to pay homage to Venerable Matulionis as the model of faithfulness to Christ, to the Church and to the Holy See, and to remind the continent of the need to protect religious freedom, looking to the testimony which people such as the Lithuanian Archbishop have given in defending the dignity of the person and the values by which Europe was shaped”.