2014-05-02 16:23:53

Bosnians unveil statue of Pope John Paul II

May 02, 2014 - ‎Thousands of Bosnians celebrated the canonization of Pope John Paul II on Wednesday at the ‎unveiling of a statue in the heart of Sarajevo. The crowd shouted ``long live the pope'' as the 3-meter-‎high statue showing the late pope standing in meditative prayer was unveiled in front of the city's ‎cathedral. John Paul's support for Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war made him very popular among the ‎city's predominantly Muslim population. Sarajevans endured 1,425 days under siege by Serbian forces ‎during the conflict and appreciated the pope's repeated calls for an end to their suffering. ``His words were ‎perceived as messages of hope in Bosnia, especially in Sarajevo,'' said the Muslim member of Bosnia's ‎Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic. John Paul tried to visit Sarajevo during the worst days in 1994 but ‎canceled his trip because the Serbs said they wouldn't guarantee his safety. He visited after the war ‎ended, and tens of thousands jammed the streets to welcome him. In front of Sarajevo's cathedral he ‎shook hands with the crowd and stroked the foreheads of weeping people, many of them Muslims. ‎‎``His words were like medicine for our still-open wounds,'' Izetbegovic said.‎ (Source: AP)

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