Vatican City, Mar 24, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The city of Aachen (Germany) bestowed upon Pope John Paul II an extraordinary edition of the International Charlemagne Award, a prestigious award given annually by the city for distinguished service on behalf of European unity.
The award was bestowed upon the Holy Father on Wednesday afternoon at the Vatican by Jurgen Linden, the mayor of Aachen and by Walter Evershein, president of the executive council of the Charlemagne Award.
The Aachen Cathedral Choir performed at both the opening and the conclusion of the ceremony.
The award is named for the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, viewed as a symbol of European unity due to the vast expanse of his kingdom, which included several modern-day European countries.