This week in Christian history: English king converts; pope visits Poland; Far East Broadcasting Company launches

Pope John Paul II visits Soviet Poland — June 2, 1979

Pope John II
Pope John Paul II waves from the central balcony of the St. Peter's facade the day he was elected on Oct. 16, 1978. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope John Paul II began his multiday visit to his native Poland, at the time part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The pontiff was greeted by hundreds of thousands of supporters when he arrived in the Communist nation, which still had a large Catholic population despite the political climate.

“Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude of geography. The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man,” he stated at a mass held in Warsaw.

“Without Christ it is impossible to understand the history of Poland, especially the history of the people who have passed or are passing through this land.”

Many have credited the visit with spurring on the Solidarity Movement, which led to massive protests across the Soviet Union and eventually the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

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