John Paul II on the money in Poland

Poland's central bank yesterday released two commemorative banknotes bearing the image of John Paul II to mark the 28th anniversary of the late Pope's election.

The National Bank of Poland's special notes have a face value of 50 zlotys (around $A21), and sell for 90 zloty ($A38).

The front of the bills features an image of John Paul II holding his crucifix-topped staff against a background of the world map, symbolising the universal nature of his pontificate, Radio Polonia says.

The reverse side of the bill shows a moving episode from John Paul's inauguration when he embraced in a touching gesture cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the legendary Primate of the Millenium, the leader of the Catholic Church in the then still Communist Poland.

The water mark on the commemorative banknote has the official papal seal of John Paul II and is surrounded by names of all the countries he had visited during his eventful pontificate.

The design includes a quote from the late pontiff: "There would not be a Polish pope at the Holy See if not for your faith, not backing down when faced with prison and suffering, your heroic hope."

Vuong Anh Toan, 39, who has lived in Poland since moving from Vietnam 10 years ago, bought three bills for his wife and son.

"I'm not a Catholic, my wife is, but I loved the Pope," he told Associated Press.

Andrzej Nowakowski, who also lined up at the central bank's headquarters in downtown Warsaw, snapped up six of the commemorative notes for his wife and grandsons because John Paul "was the greatest Pole."

Born in Wadowic near Cracow, Pope John Paul was elected Pope on 16 October 1978. He died on 2 April 2005.

Last June, the national bank issued gold, silver and copper alloy commemorative coins of John Paul to coincide with the start of the beatification process for the late pontiff.

Polish central bank honors Pope John Paul II with special bank notes (International Herald Tribune (16/10/06)
Poland's Central Bank issues Papal anniversary bill (Radio Polonia, 16/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
National Bank of Poland

Pope welcomes arrival of common European currency (CathNews, 3/1/02)
Coins mark 21st year of pontificate (CathNews, 28/4/00)

17 Oct 2006