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religious and secular millennia
Millennial ecclesiastic celebrations have been instrumental in stressing the importance of the medieval past. The millennium of the martyrdom of St. Adalbert in 1997, and the pope’s pilgrimage to Gniezno gave an opportunity for the meeting of seven European heads of state. Pope John Paul II visited the Czech Republic and Hungary several times during this period. Millennial celebrations were state-sponsored events not only in Hungary but also in Ukraine and even in Armenia. The efforts on behalf of these Central and East European states to make modern political symbols out of medieval events and objects were not unwelcome by their Western neighbors either. During the millennial celebrations in Hungary, for example, copies of the British Magna Charta (1215) and the Hungarian Golden Bull (1222) were ceremoniously exchanged between the President of the House of Lords of Great Britain and the President of the Hungarian National Assembly to demonstrate the "medieval roots of their constitutional, parliamentary, democratic traditions".
Gniezno Declaration
Gniezno, April 28, 2000

We the Prime Ministers of the Governments of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, gathered in Gniezno at the grave of St. Adalbert one thousand years of the meeting of Emperor Otto III with Bołeslaw the Brave,

Aware of the responsibility of politicians for the destiny of Europe on the threshold of the 21st century,

Mindful of the historical experiences of our nations and their aspirations to delve into the truth about the past and build the future of the European continent based on unity of values and goals,

Convinced of the indivisibility of Europe in the striving to ensure security and stable development,

Guided by concern for the further development of mutual relations and the creation of favourable conditions for the cooperation of states and societies,

Prompted by the desire to find perspective responses to global transformations,

Solemnly declare that we shall

Work together to fulfil the aspirations of the nations and societies to live in a united Europe,

Jointly become involved in building the future of Europe with respect for the diversity of cultures, national traditions and regional differences,

Be guided by the principle of solidarity and shall work closely together in shaping the economic development and social life in our countries,

Become involved jointly and severally in solving international problems, defending human rights, the principles of democracy and the rule of law and shall oppose the creation of new divisions on the European continent,

Resolutely oppose the dangers that stem from militant nationalism, xenophobia, racism and totalitarian ideologies.

Our common goal is to create a Europe of free societies living in peace, security and prosperity.