The late Pope John Paul II has been named patron saint of the Slovakian mountain rescue service.
Kraków’s ‘Uncle’, as he was known affectionately in the city, was selected because of his love for the Tatra mountains, separating Poland and Slovakia. He spent much time walking in the region, and because mountain rescue teams of Horskej Zachrannej Sluzby wanted a patron who would watch over them during their difficult and dangerous work. An official ceremony will be held on October 21, in the town of Terchová – which was also the birthplace of the notorious outlaw Juraj Janosik.
Bohus Hlavaty, president of the Slovakian Tatra Mountain Resorts, said he was proud of the decision of the rescue workers. He added: “There can be no more beautiful patron saint than John Paul II. He was the greatest man of our time. He helped liberate both Poland and Slovakia from communism.”
Josef Janiga, head of the Slovakian Tatra Mountain Rescue team, said that the announcement of John Paul II as patron would help build connections between Poland and Slovakia, and between the rescue teams working on both sides of the Tatra mountains.