Congratulatory remarks by President of Latvia Egils Levits
My warmest congratulations to you on this major milestone, your 90th birthday!
I believe you have many fond memories of those decades and feel really proud of everything that you have done and helped build.
State of Latvia is only slightly older than you, and your life has always been closely connected with special moments in the history of our state.
As a catholic priest, you have been with our people throughout the difficult occupation period. Time when neither Latvia was free nor people could openly and fully embrace the freedom of religion and faith. Strength of faith and conviction in your generation of priesthood is admirable. You chose to serve despite repressions and kept faith and Christian values strong in people.
Continuity of Catholic Church throughout occupation and active exchanges with the Holy See helped keep and reinvigorate the spirit of national independence and freedom in people.
After Latvia regained its independence and you became the Archbishop of Riga, you facilitated successful cooperation and dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church in Latvia and our government and people. As believers, people live by Christian ideals, and as citizens they need to abide by earthly laws. That is why cooperation and mutual respect between the state and church, any denomination, is vital for fruitful and harmonious development of the society.
We are all grateful for close relationship between the state and church. We do appreciate peaceful coexistence and cooperation of various denominations for the common benefit of Latvia.
Latvia is proud to have you. You are one of only two Latvian clergymen whose earned the title and powers of a cardinal bestowed by Pope.
Your rock-solid faith, wisdom, amazing work ethic and modesty of the heart has become legendary. It is talked about among Christians and the whole public. Your life and work are an inspiration to everyone who is looking for the answers to life’s big questions in the teachings of the church.
To mark your milestone birthday, I would like to present to you the Presidential Certificate of Merit and a medal for your life’s work and service to our people and country.
Happy birthday! I wish you good health, plenty of energy to keep going through these difficult times and always remain quick-witted!