Icon of Pope Saint John Paul II

David Raber

Ovid, United States

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Artist's Description

Pope John Paul II served as leader of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005—one of the longest pontificates in history. He was a charismatic and energetic leader whose great devotion to the cause of Christ was evident in his personal life, in his writings, and in his self-sacrificing work for the Church. For a brief account of this pope’s many activities and accomplishments, see http://www.vatican.va/special/canonizzazione-27...

The colorful floral border includes wildflowers native to Poland, John Paul’s homeland, and roses signifying his devotion to the Virgin Mary. Flanking the figure are depictions of the Catholic cathedral at Wadowice, the Pope’s hometown, and St. Peter’s Church at the Vatican. I chose to depict this pope wearing the distinctive white papal cassock. The Pope dressed like this, in his all-purpose everyday garb, is an image the whole world became familiar with over many years, seeing the Pope on television on one of his many trips abroad, disembarking from an airplane, at meetings with national leaders or Church colleagues, etc. A crown of thorns is embedded in the golden halo surrounding the saint’s head—the halo being the traditional indication of personal holiness and the crown of thorns alluding to this pope’s dedication to the work of the Church in spite of his personal suffering.

These are just a few of the various features in the icon highlighting John Paul’s background, his personal piety, and the import of his papacy.

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