Programme Declaration

10th Gniezno Convention

Europe of New Beginnings

The Liberating Power of Christianity

11-13 March 2016

The 10th Gniezno Convention will be held in March 2016 under the motto “Europe of New Beginnings. The Liberating Power of Christianity”.

This choice of the subject matter invokes the 1050th anniversary of Mieszko’s baptism, a watershed event not only for the prince and his court, but also the onset of Poland’s history and its role in the family of European nations. We want to recall the situation of Europe and the Church from 1050 years ago. How did an encounter with Christ transform the people of that time? How did they subsequently transform the world around them?

We need new beginnings

The choice of this subject is moreover a reference to a clear need for a profound renewal in the present-day life of the Church, Poland and Europe. We believe that this renewal may commence with an examination of conscience of Polish Christianity and a return to the wellspring of baptism.

We want to begin any renewal from ourselves. We can see how many people today are lost in their pursuits, their yearnings and hopes. We want to discover anew faith as a school of freedom. Each of us needs a new beginning.

Pope Francis calls upon all the Church for a pastoral conversion: from the model focused on the conservation of the status quo to the model of a missionary Church who enters the existential peripheries of the contemporary world. The Church needs a new beginning.

After over 26 years of freedom Poland seems increasingly exhausted. The modernisation potential is evidently at the end of its tether. A new urge for public civil commitment seems necessary. Poland needs a new beginning.

Today’s Europe is fatigued and helpless, too. There is no clear vision that would help to solve serious problems both within and outside the European Union. A fear of strangers creeps in. Europe needs a new beginning.

The year 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union and the onset of creation of a new order in Central and Eastern Europe. Kiev’s Maidan in 2014 confirmed that the process of acquiring freedom continues. During the Convention we want to sum up the above transformations. The brotherly nations of our part of the continent were liberated a quarter of a century ago; are they free, too?

We need the liberating power of Christianity

Addressing the subject of the new beginnings, we invite to Gniezno speakers, panelists and workshop experts who are also witnesses. We invite people whose social engagement has proven a number of times that they can be a source of creative inspiration for others, are capable of motivating them to abandon indifference and actually demand the most of themselves. We want to listen to them and learn how to live our faith in freedom, how to be Christians in a pluralist society. In Gniezno we wish to experience and bear witness to the liberating power of the Gospel.

We extend our invitation to the 10th Gniezno Convention to the faithful of various Christian Churches, members of religious movements and communities, associations, foundations and other non-governmental organisations committed to service for the common good. The Convention will provide them with an opportunity for meeting, learning about one another and establishing relations. We want to offer Christian leaders especially energy, inspiration, knowledge, and skill for further actions through hands-on contact with wisdom and beauty.

We want the Convention to address human real problems: from existential ones to those related to human relationships, social, ecclesiastical, cultural, and international. “Europe of new beginnings” will involve its participants in various aspects: spiritual – through witnesses and ecumenical prayers intertwined in the Convention’s agenda; intellectual – through lectures and panel debates; cultural – through art events. We leave room in the agenda for interpersonal meetings and opportunities to exchange experience. Thanks to special Workshops of Christian Freedom, the Convention  will be a bona fide formation event, a practical lesson in encouraging ourselves and others to make a new beginning.

The Gniezno Convention will moreover be a venue for international contacts of communities involved in the construction of the Christian foundations of the civil society. We expect a special participation of citizens of Ukraine, which is constructing its new beginnings amidst trials and tribulations. We likewise invite Russians who seek reconciliation with their neighbours, as well as Belarussians, Lithuanians and representatives of all nations who re-shape their freedom. In line with the tradition of the previous Gniezno Conventions, together we want to build a Europe of the spirit and dialogue, for the human being and the family, a true Europe of citizens.