The canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II will mark a historic moment for the Catholic Church. Regardless, both Popes were key leaders from a religious and historical point of view, both lived through conviction and set a clear example in which, fortunately for mankind, many of the world’s leadership decisions finally relied on. 

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, because of old age and ambiguous reputation was called to be a transitional Pope. Little did those who predicted his short pontificate imagine that this 76 year old humble man, son of peasants, would mark a turning point in history and initiate a new age for the Church. John XXIII lived advocating human freedom and dignity as the basis for world order and peace. Still present in our mind is one of his most famous quotes, already calling for mutual conciliation: “It is now for the Catholic Church to bend herself to her work with calmness and generosity. It is for you to observe her with renewed and friendly attention”.

Karol Józef Wojtyła, known as John Paul II, struggled all through World War II and soon became a firm defendant of dialogue with the Jews and representatives of other religions, whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace and concord. He also established the World Youth Days which would later be considered as one of the swiftest moves towards approaching proximity to the youngest faction in Catholicism.

The canonization was hosted by Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who attended the Mass and sat among the cardinals and bishops. Oddly enough, the ceremony was soon to be called: “The Ceremony of the four Popes”.

Significant relationship of our Spiritual Protecor

As in former occasions, our Order’s  Spiritual Protector, His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, also attended the Mass and celebrations. Patriarch Gregorios held a significant relationship with both Pope John Paul  II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and has always been a strong standard bearer for peace and harmony.
Regulary audiences and visits   - Patriarch Gregorios held a significant relationship with both Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XV and now with Pope Franciscus

Pope John Paul II and Lazarus

The canonization of Pope John Paul II  represents for Members of the Order, and especially for those Members and Volunteers involved in the humanitarian operations of the LHW a truly special honor  and a unique significant historical and spiritual importance.
The Members of the Order and Volunteers of Lazarus Hilfswerk (GP-EU) were repeatedly honored by the Pope, over their many years of significant humanitarian activities in Poland, as well as in other former Soviet block countries during the last two decades of the 20th century. Pope John Paul II even invited four Chaplains of the Order to concelebrate with him the Holy Mass in his private chapel. More on all Members were invited to attend a private audience with His Holiness. His personal conversations with   these Members  are a cherished memory that has stayed with all participants throughout these past decades.

 John Paul II recognized and appreciated the ecumenical Christian nature of the Order, and especially its consistent record of selflessly providing effective relief services to those in need around the world, regardless of individual interests, nationalities, or politics.
The high esteem that Pope John Paul II held for the Members and Volunteers of the Order, was reflected by his act of accepting (traditionally, a Pope never accepts foreign awards) the LHW Poland Service Medal (medal number 1) awarded in a special ceremony at the Vatican by the LHW. This medal was created and founded by the 47th Grandmaster Don #Francico Enrique de Borbón y de Borbón  to honor both Members and Volunteers the Order by celebrating their generous help given to Poland during the years of country‘s greatest need. 

On behalf of the LHW-Board of Directors Chevalier Dr. Karl Panzer KLJ, KSG, member of the Advisory Board  presnted the Poland Service Medail No.1  to the Holy Father who adopted this in recognition of the many year Poland-aid in cooperation with the Charitable Commission of the Polish Bishops' Conference.

After the Pontifical Mass  and the reception  His Holiness  Pope John Paul II asked his offcial photpgrapher to take a photo with the LAZARUS-Delegation, headed by Chev. Klaus-Peter Pokolm, GCLJ togehter  with Archbishop Kardinal Machrski (Crakow), Bischop Dr. Frotz (representing Cardinal Höffner  (Cologne),  the Ambassador to the Holys See and a Representative of the Ministry of Faoreign Affairs.

Let us pray and hope
that the sanctification of these two men, whose exemplary lives will provide us with strength, courage and strong guidance

Copyright  for all photos- Papal Audiences in Rome and Castel Gondolfo


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