02.06.

1979: What did the First Pope’s Visit to a Communist Country look like?

1979: What did the First Pope’s Visit to a Communist Country look like?
Photo Credit To clamorworld.com

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 2 June 1979
  • When he got off the plane, the pope kissed the ground. He held a Mass at the biggest square in Warsaw - Victory Square in the city center. Pope remained in Poland for as long as 9 days, visiting the famous Polish shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa.

On this day, Pope St. John Paul II visited his native Poland.

It was his first visit to the homeland since he became pope and the first visit by a pope to a Communist country in general.

When he got off the plane, the pope kissed the ground. He was welcomed by the Polish head of state Henryk Jabłoński (a communist) and Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the highest dignitary of the Catholic Church in Poland.

The pope held a mass at the biggest square in Warsaw – Victory Square in the city center (after the fall of communism, the square was renamed Piłsudski Square).

Supposedly 3 million people gathered on the square for Mass. The pope remained in Poland for as long as 9 days, visiting the famous Polish shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa.

The pope’s visit had an impact on the relations between the Church and the state in the Eastern bloc.

Pope St. John Paul II visited Poland again eight more times, more than any other country. In total, he visited 129 countries during his term, covering an incredible 1,167,000 kilometers (enough to circumnavigate the earth 29 times).

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