In 2003, at the age of 83, Pope John Paul II reached a rare and significant milestone: the 25th anniversary of his pontificate. Because the Papacy tends to be assumed late in life—John Paul II was 58 when he became Vicar of Christ, making him the century’s youngest Pope—it is almost unheard of for a Pontiff to serve so long. In modern times, only Pius IX (1846-1878) had a longer reign than John Paul II.
But no Holy Father has ever been as loved and respected as much as John Paul II. And nowhere was he loved and respected to the degree that he was in his native Poland.
To commemorate the Pope’s 25-year anniversary, the Polish government issued this special-edition 2-called “Nordic gold,” a tarnish-resistant aluminum-bronze alloy; this symbolizes John Paul II’s purity and virtue. On the obverse, the Pope, holding his pastoral crosier, is deep in prayerful meditation. Indeed, of the numerous representations of John Paul II over the years, this image is perhaps the most emotionally evocative. The same cross appears on the reverse, with the Polish coat of arms.
The Pope’s relationship with Poland goes deeper than pride. John Paul was instrumental in ending Communist rule in his homeland. His historic visit to Poland in 1979 stirred strong patriotic sentiments which the Soviets were unable to dim. Solidarity was born, and ten years later, Poland held its first free elections. Indeed, John Paul’s impact was not confined to the spiritual; he helped change history.
——is a unit of currency that dates to the High Middle Ages, which is also the last time there was a Pope who was not Italian. is the Polish word for golden.
Data: KMY#465: 26.7 mm, 8.17 g Album open measures: 11” x 7.5” Album folded measures: 5.5” x 7.5”
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