Polish Pope John Paul II
General Info on JPII

JPII Quotes

"Keep Alive This Heritage"

by John Paul II at Gniezno*, Poland, June 3, 1979

"Culture is an expression of man. It is the affirmation of humanity. Man creates it—and is himself created by it ...

"Culture is above all the common good of a nation. The Polish culture is the value upon which rests the spiritual life of Poles. It distinguishes us as a nation. It speaks about us throughout the ages. It asserts more than all material force. More even than political boundaries ...

"Polish culture from the beginning has worn very clear Christian marks. It is no accident that the first testament bearing witness to culture is Bogurodzica** ...

"And so it is to this day. Christian inspiration has not stopped being the main source of Polish artists' creativity. Polish culture continually flows in a wide current of inspiration having its roots in the Gospel.

"The soul of the Nation is mirrored in the history of Polish culture. Living in it are their annals. It is the unceasing school of genuine and true patriotism. Precisely for this reason, it knows also how to assert demands and uphold ideals, without which it is difficult for man to believe in his dignity and educate himself ...

"These words are spoken to you by a man, who from the beginning, owes his spiritual formation to Polish culture, literature, music, art, theater—Polish history, Polish Christian traditions, schools, and universities ...

"I wish above all to repay the debt which I incurred from this superb spiritual heritage that began with Bogurodzica ...

"And I implore you: Remain faithful to this heritage! Make it the foundation of your formation! Make it the object of the greatness of your soul! Keep alive this heritage! Intensify this heritage! Impart it to the next generations!"

* Gniezno was the first Capital of Poland and literally means "nest"
** Bogurodzica - (The Mother of God) is the oldest written Polish song and is a religious hymn. Written in the 10th-13th century. The origin of the song is not clear, but was adopted as the national battle hymn. It was sung before the Battle of Grunwald where the Poles defeated the Teutonic Knights. Bogurodzica accompanied also the coronation ceremonies of the first Jagiellonian kings. Bogurodzica is a prayer hymn whose first stanza contains an invocation to Christ through the intercession of Mary. It begins with an apostrophe to her - to the Mother of Christ, the Virgin, praised by God, the chosen one. After the apostrophe, there is an appeal to Mary to win favor for people from her Son. The second stanza begins with direct addresses to Christ (called God's Son) - with an invocation to John the Baptist who can support human imploring. The prayer closing this stanza contains a request that Christ give people a blissful stay on earth and, after death, everlasting existence in heaven. The subsequent stanzas develop various motifs: Easter, the Passion, a litany - with invocations to the saints.



Polish Religious Music
From Polonia Music

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