Nowhere is the former pope more adored and venerated than in his native Poland.
Poland is one of Europe’s most religious countries with more than 90% of the population declaring themselves as Catholics and almost half of all Poles attending mass at least once a week. With the beatification, “Popemania” has reached new heights. According to a recent survey, one third of interviewees said that they pray to John Paul II, even though this type of veneration is, as yet, prohibited.
Another expression of this phenomenon is the proliferation of monuments dedicated to John Paul II. Since his death in 2005, an average of one new monument is unveiled every 6 days in Poland. Artist and sculptor Czeslaw Dzwigaj reckons there are some 400 odd pope statues in Poland, 70 of them his own creations. From small scale plaster casts being sold to private individuals to dozens of recently erected larger-than-life statues, John Paul II is experiencing a huge revival in his native country.
Piotr Małecki travelled around the Polish countryside and the many towns that now boast their very own memorials to the only Polish pope.