Monument to John Paul II unveiled in Moscow

A monument to late Pope John Paul II was unveiled on Friday in the courtyard of the Library of Foreign Languages in Moscow, the library said.

It will share the quiet space with the likenesses of Charles Dickens, Heinrich Heine, Raoul Wallenberg and several other predominantly European figures.

The bronze monument, sculpted by Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Vasyakin and Russians Ilya and Nikita Fyoklin, portrays the Pontiff sitting.

The idea of building a monument was voiced by Grigory Amnuel, the head of the non-governmental organization International Dialogue.

The opening ceremony was attended by Polish Ambassador to Russia Wojciech Zajaczkowski, Ambassador of the Vatican to Russia Archbishop Ivan Yurkovich, representatives of the Moscow patriarchate and other leading religious, state and public officials.

John Paul II, a predecessor of Pope Benedict XVI, died on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84. He was the second-longest documented pontificate, who headed the Catholic Church for 26 years.

The Vatican beatified him in May. Beatification is the third of four steps in the canonization process.

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