First pilgrimage of John Paul II to Poland

Data publikacji: czwartek, 14 wrzesień 2023
During the international conference "Pope to the world - the 45th Anniversary of the Pontificate of John Paul II", which will take place on 17 October 2023 at the Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszynski, we will discuss the most difficult challenges faced by the Pope. Our guests will be editors Valentina Alazraki and Professor Piotr Czauderna.

What a special and responsible place Poland, and especially the Church in Poland, has on the great map of the modern world,
[...] since the issues that are going on in Poland are of global importance.

John Paul II, Address at the Plenary Assembly of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Jasna Góra, 5.06.1979

Due to the Pope's personality, but also to the question of what model of cooperation he would adopt with the authorities in Poland, John Paul II's first pilgrimage to Poland attracted extraordinary public and media interest worldwide. On 5 June 1979, during the visit to Jasna Góra, a meeting of the General Council of the Polish Episcopate was held, at which the Holy Father was also present. Historians regard the contents of the minutes of that meeting as a model example of a diagnosis of the situation of Poland and the world at that time. Reading this document reveals how mature and systematic was John Paul II's vision of the milestones to be achieved in order to minimise the influence of the communist system not only in the Pope's homeland, but also in neighbouring countries. John Paul II outlined the Eastern policy of the Holy See and presented the Church's position on the most important social and political issues. During that meeting, the words that were important for the further course of the pontificate were said:

We all have to realise at the beginning of this conversation that Poland is not only in Poland, it is in the whole world and not only in Europe. [...] the issues that are going on in Poland are of global importance.

In terms of world perspectives, there is a lot of talk at the moment about the awakening of the need for the spirit, the need for the novum sacrum. [...] This awakening of the 'sacrum' is going through the world, going through the youth, from all sides.

In 10 years' time it will be the millennium of the baptism of Kievan Rus. We want to prepare for it for the next 10 years. [...] Ukrainians should feel valued. For someone has told their historical truth about them. The Church has no right to take away their historical truth about them in the name of ecumenism. The destruction of the Uniate Church, the administrative destruction, is as much a cry against Russia as it is against Romania.

The entire West is burdened by complexes, multiple complexes of opposition. It is in a sense ideologically decomposed. It is now beginning to recover a little. I think the whole initiative of the European Parliament, the unification of Europe, is to get out of this complex.

The meeting of members of the Polish Episcopate with John Paul II at Jasna Góra and the evaluation of the pilgrimage prepared by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński clearly demonstrated the great role played by the Primate of the Millennium in the Pope's concept of an international order based on the protection of human rights, freedom of the individual and of nations.

The publication Sprawy, które toczą się w Polsce, mają znaczenie światowe [from translator: The issues that are going on in Poland are of global importance] is available here.