“Keep Alive This Heritage”

by John Paul II

Gniezno, Poland, June 3, 1979

Translated by Maria Chrypinski

“Culture is an expression of man. It is the affirmation of humanity. Man creates it—and is himself created by it ...

“Culture is above all the common good of a nation. The Polish culture is the value upon which rests the spiritual life of Poles. It distinguishes us as a nation. It speaks about us throughout the ages. It asserts more than all material force. More even than political boundaries ...

“Polish culture from the beginning has worn very clear Christian marks. It is no accident that the first testament bearing witness to culture is Bogurodzica ...

“And so it is to this day. Christian inspiration has not stopped being the main source of Polish artists’ creativity. Polish culture continually flows in a wide current of inspiration having its roots in the Gospel.

“The soul of the Nation is mirrored in the history of Polish culture. Living in it are their annals. It is the unceasing school of genuine and true patriotism. Precisely for this reason, it knows also how to assert demands and uphold ideals, without which it is difficult for man to believe in his dignity and educate himself ...

“These words are spoken to you by a man, who from the beginning, owes his spiritual formation to Polish culture, literature, music, art, theater—Polish history, Polish Christian traditions, schools, and universities ...

“I wish above all to repay the debt which I incurred from this superb spiritual heritage that began with Bogurodzica ...

“And I implore you: Remain faithful to this heritage! Make it the foundation of your formation! Make it the object of the greatness of your soul! Keep alive this heritage! Intensify this heritage! Impart it to the next generations!”


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