Let Us Rise And Move Forward. The first pilgrimage of John Paul II to Poland

Let Us Rise And Move Forward. The First Pilgrimage of John Paul II to Poland

June 2nd20th, 2019

The Great Courtyard

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Pope John Paul’s II pilgrimage to his native country The Institute of National  Remembrance welcomes to the exhibition “Let Us Rise And Move Forward“  The first pilgrimage of John Paul II to Poland.

The intention to visit his native country was expressed by the Pope just a few days after being elected to St. Peter’s Throne. The Polish authorities invented numerous ways to postpone the arrival of John Paul II.  The official invitations to pay a visit was issued by the Polish Episcopate on February 22nd, and the Polish authorities on March 2nd, 1979.

“The situation that Poland is experiencing has a direct influence on the community of all socialist countries” expressed by Leonid Brezhnev thus voicing his dissatisfaction towards the consent of the Polish authorities to the Pope’s visit.

During the pilgrimage, John Paul II paid a visit to Warsaw (June 2nd), Gniezno (June 3rd), Częstochowa (June 4th-6th)  Between June 6th and 10th The Pope stayed in Kraków and in the meantime travelled to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Wadowice, Oświęcim and Nowy Targ. In Kraków itself The Pope met the faithful at Skałka, Cisterian Abbey in Mogiła, and Kraków Błonie.

It is estimated that 10 million Poles attended the meetings with John Paul II at that time.

Being fearful of the effects of the visit the Polish communist authorities employed all possible propaganda means to ‘neutralize all the negative effects’ of The Pope’s visit to Poland.

At the end of the visit everybody was sure that the event will bear fruit for dozens of years to come. Words expressed by Prof. Jan Szczepański a member of the former Council of State..

In the communiqué following the visit of John Paul II to his native country  the Conference of the Episcopate of Poland stated that “this exceptional event in the history of the Polish nation will have influence on the lives of many generations of Poles to come.”

Forty photos are presented at the exhibition which come from the sources of The Primate Institute named after Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński and the archives of the National Remembrance Institute, most of which have not been published before.

Following an international  press query a body of newspaper headlines have been collected from German, Italian, Dutch, French and American newspapers.

The hereby presentation has been supplemented with fragments of opinions expressed by the communist authorities on the Pope’s pilgrimage during the preparation of the visit and its completion.

The  authors of the exhibitions: Anna Badura (PhD), Ryszard Mozgol, Andrzej Sznajder (PhD) National Remembrance Institute, Katowice Department

Designed and Produced by Fabryka Dekoracji Marcin Marcin Pietuch


Archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej (AIPN in Warsaw)

Archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej (OA IPN in Cracow)

Archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej (OA IPN in Gdańsk)

Archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej OA IPN in Poznań)

- Instytut Prymasowski Stefana Kardynała Wyszyńskiego (IPSKW)

- Polska Agencja Prasowa (PAP)

- Polskie Radio SA