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Mosaic of Virgin Mary in St. Peter's Square . Youtube. RomeReports

The Pope asked That an Image of the Mother of God be Placed in St. Peter’s Square to Commemorate His Survival.

By Beata Zajączkowska, Aleteia, 05/13/23

The moments after the assassination attempt on John Paul II’s life on May 13, 1981. ARTURO MARI / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

Before the assassination attempt on John Paul II on May 13, 1981, there wasn’t a single image of Mary in St. Peter’s Square. The first — and so far, only — one was placed there as a votive offering of thanksgiving for the Polish Pope’s miraculous survival.

Symbolic place

“One hand was shooting, and another was directing the bullet,” John Paul II said shortly after the assassination attempt. He shed his blood in an extremely symbolic place: the location of the former ancient circus of infamous Roman emperor Nero, where the first Christians died for Christ. Indeed, St. Peter was crucified nearby. …

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