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The Empire. Between dispute and nostalgia

Edited By Emanuel Plopeanu, Gabriel Stelian Manea and Metin Omer

The book examines how different imperial models of diplomacy, administration, economics, and cultural and religious policies were challenged or, on the contrary, defended during and after the collapse of the Empires that promoted them. It provides an overview from multiple perspectives of the imperial phenomenon in all its dimensions, and the studies published in this volume address broad chronological segments and geographical areas relevant to the imperial idea.

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The End of a Communist Imperial Illusion. The First Visit of Pope John Paul II in Poland. 1979

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Gabriel Stelian Manea*

The End of a Communist Imperial Illusion.

The First Visit of Pope John Paul II in Poland. 1979

Abstract: In this chapter, we started from the hypothesis that Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland in 1979 was an impossible to camouflage fissure for the entire political and ideological empire controlled by Moscow. The analogy made with St. Stanisław, a saint with a mythological-founding role for Poles and a landmark of the opposition to political authority, was unacceptable to the regime. On the surface and to preserve appearances, the Polish communist leaders could only cordially receive the sovereign pontiff, but the measures they prepared and put into practice proved the atmosphere of deep concern, unrest and even opposition from within the party. The leaders of the Polish regime felt the themes of the human rights, the media coverage of the visit, and the control of millions of pilgrims as essential for the preservation of political control inspired and supervised by Moscow imperialism.

Keywords: Pope John Paul II, Stefan Wyszyński, Edward Gierek, Catholic Church, Polish People’s Republic

Introduction

The thesis I would like to develop is that, despite appearances and benevolent statements, the communist regime in Poland, and by extension the communist regimes in general, were really afraid of the implications that Pope John Paul II visit could have had. The authorities felt a shiver whenever the Pontiff gave a...

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