Officials turn out for Aglona pilgrimage

Senior officials including President Raimonds Vejonis, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma and parliamentary speaker Inara Murniece headed to the Agolona basilica in Latvia's eastern Latgale region over the weekend of august 14-15 to join thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims.

The annual Aglona pilgrimage sees thousands of Roman Catholics from Latvia and beyond making their way - many by foot - to the out-of-the way church.

In a speech to the crowds, President Raimonds Vejonis - who lists his own religious belief as 'pagan' - made a call for different religious denominations to seek common ground.

"Different denominations can find points of contact to understand each other and build a dialogue. Many nationalities are united in faith in one God. It is a process of mutual integration. Through prayer, man learns about not only his individual approach to God, but also to his brothers and sisters within the family."

At the end of 2013, 251 Catholic congregations were officially listed in Latvia.

In 2011 the Roman Catholic church in Latvia claimed to have around 500,000 adherents in the company, equivalent to 1 in 4 of the 2 million population.   

More information about Aglona and the pilgrimage tradition can be read HERE.

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