News from Europe

Hungarian sculptor gifts John Paul II statue to Polish university

A statue of John Paul II crafted by Hungarian sculptor Lajos Győrfi commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Polish pope’s birth and also serves as a testament to what the sculptor says is his deep connection with Poland.


Győrfi, whose wife Maria is Polish, had initially desired to have the statue unveiled and blessed on March 23, 2021, which is Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day, yet due to the pandemic the event was postponed.

The works of Győrfi, whose sculpture of John Paul II was donated to the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków (UPJPII), have been exhibited in Poland many times. Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, former personal secretary of the Polish pope, also contributed to the statue’s creation as he devoted his honorarium from the Hungarian Sandor Petofi Award to the goal.

“The fates of two saints – Jadwiga and John Paul II – mark the paths of the papal university in Kraków, both historically and in the modern era. Jadwiga from Hungary, who created the foundations, and John Paul II who always treated this university as his home,” said UPJPII rector father Robert Tyrała.

Hungarian Secretary of State for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs Miklos Soltesz emphasized that John Paul II had always defended the natural family and unborn life. He had opposed aggressive ideologies which tried to change human nature and the basic nature of woman and man.

Soltesz pointed out that in the West, churches are being destroyed or transformed into places for entertainment or Muslim worship. Meanwhile, in Central Europe, churches are being built and restored.


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