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Slovak Republic

18 May 2020

Pope John Paul II Birth Centenary

(Joint Issue with Poland)

Slovakia: Pope John Paul II Birth Centenary, 18 May 2020. Images from Slovenská pošta.

A Joint Issue with Poland: The 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005)

Date of issue: 18.05.2020
Face value: 1.70 €
Stamp dimensions: 26.5 x 44.1 mm
Form of printing sheet: TL
Stamps per sheet: 6
Stamps in set: 1
Printer: Tiskárna Hradištko, s.r.o.
Printing technology: Offset
Circulation: 180 000
Stamp Designer:  Ľubomír Žálec ArtD.

John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyła, on 18th May 1920 in Wadowice (Poland). He was the second son of Karol and Emilia Wojtyła (née Kaczorowska). His mother passed away when he was nine, followed by his brother Edmund three years later. His father died in 1941.

During World War II Wojtyła began to study theology in secret and after the liberation of Poland, he completed his studies at the Jagiellonian University. Wojtyła took holy orders in November 1946 and was ordained as an auxiliary bishop of Cracow in July 1958. In December 1963 he became the Archbishop of Cracow and on 26th June 1967 he was appointed as a Cardinal. During the conclave of 16th October 1978 he was elected by his fellow Cardinals as the 264th successor of St. Peter the Apostle – as Pope. Wojtyła was the first Slavic Pope and his pontificate lasted for 26 years, 5 months and 17 days. He passed away during the Octave of Easter, on Saturday 2nd April 2005.

The pontificate of John Paul II was the third longest. This gave him the opportunity to make 104 international apostolic journeys (including 3 visits to Slovakia – 1990, 1995, 2003), publish 14 encyclicals, beatify and canonise 1,340 people, give approximately 3,500 speeches, declare 3 jubilee years, and meet more than 20 million people at approximately 1,200 general audiences . . . John Paul II was a tireless promoter of peace, the observance of human rights and human dignity. His charisma brought a new dynamism to the Catholic Church.

Already at his funeral, people held banners with the words, Santo subito (immediate sainthood). Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II on 1st May 2011 (Divine Mercy Sunday) and Pope Francis canonised him on 27th April 2014 (again, Divine Mercy Sunday). His liturgical remembrance is celebrated by the Catholic Church on 22nd October – it is the day that John Paul II took the office of Pope.

The stamp depicts John Paul II with a thoughtful expression and halo. In the background is the house where he lived with his family in Wadowice. The FDC surcharge shows the Pope kneeling at prayer. A dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is the motif of the postmark, which also includes the inscription: Karol Wojtyła, 1920 – 2005.
Mons. Ján Vallo.

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