Europe

Poland's church, government mark Christianity anniversary

  • Poland’s President Andrzej Duda,center, and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda attend a Mass as part of Poland’s celebration of 1,050 years of the nation’s Catholicism at the 10th-century cathedral in Gniezno, in western Poland, Thursday, 14 April 2016. Poland's bishops on Thursday opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation.  The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    Poland’s President Andrzej Duda,center, and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda attend a Mass as part of Poland’s celebration of 1,050 years of the nation’s Catholicism at the 10th-century cathedral in Gniezno, in western Poland, Thursday, 14 April 2016. Poland's bishops on Thursday opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation. The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, center, presides a Mass, as part of Poland’s celebration of 1,050 years of the nation’s Catholicism at the 10th-century cathedral in Gniezno, in western Poland, Thursday, 14 April 2016. Poland's bishops on Thursday opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation.  The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism.  (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, center, presides a Mass, as part of Poland’s celebration of 1,050 years of the nation’s Catholicism at the 10th-century cathedral in Gniezno, in western Poland, Thursday, 14 April 2016. Poland's bishops on Thursday opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation. The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Participants take part in a Mass, as part of Poland’s celebration of 1,050 years of the nation’s Catholicism at the 10th-century cathedral in Gniezno, in western Poland, on Thursday, 14 April 2016. Poland's bishops on Thursday opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation.  The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    Participants take part in a Mass, as part of Poland’s celebration of 1,050 years of the nation’s Catholicism at the 10th-century cathedral in Gniezno, in western Poland, on Thursday, 14 April 2016. Poland's bishops on Thursday opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation. The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

Poland's bishops have opened religious and political celebrations that mark 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland with a debate on its significance for the nation.

The church and the conservative government jointly organized the three-day ceremonies that opened Thursday in the western town of Gniezno, considered to be the cradle of Poland's Catholicism. Government members want the ceremonies to stress that Poland's Catholic identity ties the nation to Western culture and values, especially now when the European Union is criticizing its policies.

Pope Francis' envoy and President Andrzej Duda will attend a Mass later Thursday at Gniezno's 10th-century cathedral.

Duda will address a special session of lawmakers and senators on Friday.

Poland's Prince Mieszko I was baptized in Gniezno around the year 966, chroniclers say.