Poland: Gdansk in mourning for assassinated Mayor Adamowicz

  • Jo Siedlecka

St Mary's Basilica, Gdansk JS/TI

St Mary's Basilica, Gdansk JS/TI

A Requiem Mass for Pawel Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdansk who died on Monday after being stabbed on stage at a major charity event the night before, will take place at St Mary's Basilica in Gdansk at noon on Saturday. His body will lie in state for 24 hours at the European Solidarity Centre from 5pm tomorrow (Thursday).

The killing has sent Poland into shock. Candlelit prayer vigils have been held in a number of cities and Masses are being said across the country.

The right-wing Law and Justice party, which had governed since 2015, has said the killing was an isolated attack by a mentally-ill person, but the party is facing accusations from critics that an atmosphere of extreme hatred against Adamowicz and others liberal political opponents helped instigate it.

Mayor Adamowicz was part of the democratic opposition formed in Gdansk under the leadership of Lech Walesa during the 1980s - with the full support of the then Pope John Paul II. Last autumn he was re-elected to a sixth term, this time as an independent candidate. A popular figure, for 20 years he mingled freely with citizens of his city, and was known as a hard-working, moderate, progressive voice, supporting tolerance for minorities, sex education in schools, and LGBT rights.

He showed solidarity with the Jewish community when the Gdansk synagogue had its windows smashed last year, strongly denouncing the vandalism. He supported Gdansk's long-established tiny Muslim population.

Adamowicz also advocated bringing wounded Syrian children to Gdansk for medical treatment. He had told the Guardian in 2016: "Gdansk is a port and must always be a refuge from the sea." The plan to help the injured children was blocked by the Law and Justice government.

After he made the appeal for Syrian children, in 2017 a far-right group, the All-Polish Youth, issued what they called a 'political death certificate' for pro-European politicians. On Adamowicz's certificate, they wrote: 'cause of death - liberalism, multiculturalism, stupidity.'

Mayor Adamowicz received many personal attacks and threats on social media. Some have continued since his death. The far-right politician Grzegorz Braun said in a radio interview yesterday that Adamowicz was a "traitor to the nation."

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki,Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznań and President of the Polish Episcopal Conference appealed for prayers and expressed sadness and shock at the "shameful" attack.

In an interview with Polish news agency yesterday, Deon.pl, Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź, Metropolitan of Gdansk said Adamowicz's death was a "tragedy." "His heart stopped beating for his family, for Gdansk, for our entire community and for Poland," he said.

Archbishop Głódź, said he was with Adamowicz at 3 in the morning, as he lay on life support machine in hospital. The doctors did what they could, but his wounds were so grievious he could not be saved, he said. "I was at the President's bed, I blessed him and prayed." Adamowicz's brother Piotr, was with him, but his wife who had been abroad, wasn't able to get there in time.

The Archbishop said: "For 10 years.. we have worked very well together, we have participated in many religious, charity and patriotic celebrations. "President Adamowicz was a leading member of the Church in Gdańsk. An active and practicing Catholic, he participated in the sacramental life, and before every meal he made the sign of the cross."

Archbishop Głodź said he has spoken with President Andrzej Duda, over the phone. "We talked about how the situation in Poland may develop after what happened, and this situation is dramatic and very delicate politically and socially. Everything needs to be done to prevent escalation. We are witnessing a strong hatred in public space that it is spreading, it is inhaled and sucked in, and no one is responsible for it, and it has been going on for a long time, definitely too long."

He said "the role of the Church is to call for prayer and for consent, for reconciliation and for social peace…. All initiatives that aim for some agreement and reconciliation should be taken seriously... There is no point in looking for guilt and blaming yourself or each other, because first you have to bury the dead and pray. "


DEON -www.deon.pl/religia/kosciol-i-swiat/z-zycia-kosciola/art/37016/abp-glodz-o-smierci-pawla-adamowicza-niestety-do-pojednania-nie-doszlo-po-smolensku-i-dzis-zbieramy-tego-owoce.html

Polish Bishops Conference - https://episkopat.pl/en/przewodniczacy-episkopatu-prosi-o-modlitwe-w-intencji-pawla-adamowicza/

Vatican News - www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-01/poland-mayor-attack.html

Tags: Poland, Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz

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