PARIS, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - A 3.6-meter-high monument to Catholic Pope John Paul II by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli was unveiled Saturday near the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo took the wraps off the majestic monument, depicting the late Roman Catholic pope with his hands folded in prayer. The mayor said it was a "wonderful present for our city."
Hidalgo stressed the pontiff, who passed away in 2005, was a "great man who did a lot for our history and humanity. He worked for the benefit of mankind regardless of people's religious beliefs. He was a man of dialogue, and today we can see a huge progress that has been made in the interfaith dialogue building on the effort of John Paul II."
The mayor called on those who gathered for the unveiling ceremony at the Jean XXIII Square in Paris to preserve his "fragile heritage."
The monument was built at the instigation of the Polish Catholic Mission. Thousands of people crammed into the Notre-Dame de Paris for a mass ahead of the ceremony, which was also attended by Catholic Archbishop of Lodz Marek Jedraszewski and Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois.