The Bratislava city council made the decision have granted honorary citizenship to the late John Paul II in memoriam, per proposal of Ján Figeľ, president of the Anton Tunega Foundation, former EU Commissioner and former EU Special Envoy for Religious Freedom (2016-2019).
The honorary citizenship was awarded to the late pope in recognition of his exceptional relationship to Slovakia and Bratislava, as well as gratitude and respect towards him and his legacy. John Paul II visited Bratislava three times during his papacy (1990, 1995, 2003).
At the same time, the city of Bratislava has revoked the honorary citizenship for Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and first Communist president of Czechoslovakia Klement Gottwald.
“By honorary citizenship granted to St. John Paul II in memoriam contemporary Slovakia through its Capital City of Bratislava confirms its affinity to the values and relations that are timeless and inspiring for our development in the spirit of integral humanism. In combination with cancellation of the same past awards to XX Century dictators Stalin and Gottwald this decision represents a purification and formation of nation’s memory and concience” Jan Figel commented for The European Post.