Ceremony of unveiling the bust of Saint John Paul II in Nicosia

On 16th October 2020, the anniversary day of the election of Karol Wojtyła to the Pope, a bust of Saint John Paul II was unveiled in the garden of the Apostolic Nunciature in Nicosia, next to the Catholic Holy Cross Church.

The monument was unveiled by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Mrs Irena Lichnerowicz-Augustyn and Father Jerzy Kraj, guardian of the Franciscan community in Nicosia and the local Attaché of the Apostolic Nunciature in Cyprus (due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli was unable to come). The ceremony was preceded by a Holy Mass celebrated in the Holy Cross Church.

The bust was established at the initiative of the Polish Embassy in Nicosia to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. John Paul II and 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Solidarity Movement. It was designed and sculpted by the Polish artist Mr Wojciech Pondel.

In her speech Ambassador Irena Lichnerowicz-Speech said:

“On the pedestal of the bust one can read the following words:


Here in Cyprus they speak for themselves. The bust of Saint John Paul II is not only to celebrate birthday of this great son of Poland who “awoke a spirit of freedom and solidarity among the enslaved peoples of Central and Eastern Europe”, but also to express our hope for the reunification of this beautiful island”.

She also recalled her personal memories from her meeting with St. John Paul II:

I met John Paul II several times, but the day I will remember for the rest of my life was when I was accompanying a group of Polish children suffering from cancer on their visit to the Holy See and their special audience with the Pope. They all suffered, their condition was bad, some of the kids passed away in the months that followed… But, even though He was already weak and ill himself, John Paul II had  a very special message to all the children and their guardians. It was a message of love and mercy. I will never forget the warmth of His eyes and the loving care for each and every one present at the audience…”

Father Jerzy Kraj emphasized St. John Paul II’s well-known devotion to peace and reconciliation. He said:

“For Pope John Paul II, dialogue was never an end in itself, but always a means to foster interaction between human persons. Among the sick, the poor, the young, the elderly, philosophers, politicians, artists, and diplomats, on all continents, in all situations, and standing in front of different ethnic groups., John Paul II was constantly discovering the human person behind the dialogue (…) Well known gestures and events form his Pontificate showing this openness in dialogue were: a visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome (…), crossing the threshold of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, initiating the World Days of Prayer for Peace in Assisi and meeting with young Muslims in Marocco”.

The bust was financed by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and the Embassy of Poland in Nicosia with the support of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Cross.

Due to the current restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ceremony was of a very limited nature. The event was attended by representatives of churches and religious associations of Cyprus, as well as members of diplomatic corps.

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