Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, is calling for St. John Paul II to be declared a Doctor of the Church and a co-patron saint of Europe.

The late pope and recent saint should be recognized as a co-patron saint of Europe for his efforts to bring down the Iron Curtain and reunite Western Europe with Central and Eastern Europe, Gadecki said in a letter to the bishops of the world, asking for their support in the effort, according to Poland In.

“Fifty years of Soviet domination in East-Central Europe painted an image in many people’s minds of Europe consisting only of Germany, France, the UK, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. One might say that John Paul II ‘brought back’ half of Europe from ‘nonexistence’, [he brought back] grand and wonderful heritage of cultural and Christian roots,” wrote Gadecki.

Fr. Karol Wojtyla (who would later become Pope John Paul II) was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow in 1946, shortly after a Soviet-backed communist government had come to power in Poland. Fr. Wojtyla promoted religious liberty and Christianity in the face of the anti-religious regime.

…There are currently 36 Doctors of the Church, which are saints recognized for their universal importance to the Church due to their important teachings and great sanctity.

Europe currently has seven co-patron saints. St. Benedict of Nursia was declared “Patron Saint of all Europe” by Pope Paul VI in 1964. During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II declared Sts. Cyril and Methodius, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), St. Jadwiga of Poland as co-patrons of Europe.

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