Revealed – the man behind the official photograph of Blessed Pope John Paul II
Grzegorz Galazka's photo of John Paul II
Grzegorz Galazka's photo of John Paul II
By David Kerr
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- “This is the photo of my life.” The words of photographer Grzegorz Galazka as he gazes onto the giant image of Blessed John Paul II now draped over the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.

“I don't know how my photo was chosen but as you can see they liked it.”

The image was unveiled to the cheers of over a million pilgrims during Sunday’s beatification ceremony. Galazka had been the official photographer to Pope John Paul on almost all of his travels from 1985 until his death in 2005.

“The photo was taken on a visit to a Roman parish on Feb. 19, 1989, one of the many trips the Pope took to Roman parishes.”

Little could Grzegorz have guessed that this photograph would be one day be adopted as the official image of a potential saint. But when he heard that those behind Pope John Paul’s cause of beatification were looking for a portrait to use in their publications, such as the magazine ‘Totus Tuus,’ he quickly realized that he had just the photo.  

“I proposed it three or four times. As I work with Totus Tuus Magazine, they appreciated my work. In the end, when the moment arrived they chose my photo to be there at the beatification.” 

The photograph depicts an engaging, smiling Blessed John Paul attired in white papal soutane and red cloak. So what was the man in the photograph really like?

“Well, I'm a photographer,” says Grzegorz, “so I saw him closely but always down the lens. I saw him in his happiness and in his concern. I actually got to know the Pope very well through the lens of my camera.”

A native of Poland who now lives and works in Rome, Grzegorz has found the events of the past week very moving.

“I'm very happy. In the beginning, I didn't fully understand the importance of it being chosen. This is the photo of my life. I'm just happy that others can appreciate the Pope through this photo.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 29, 2015

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:1-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:1-20