13th May 1981, St. Peters Square, Vatican City, the assembled spectators watched in shock and horror as Pope John Paul II (temporarily) succumbed to the impact of raging bullets. The shot was fired by a trained sniper from Turkey, Mehmet Ali Agca, as the Pope was entering St. Peters Square. Four bullets from Browning Hi-Power 9mm semi-automatic pistol, hit the Pope in his abdomen, perforating his colon and small intestines multiple times. Regardless of the number of bullets fired at him, all of them failed to rupture his mesenteric and abdominal arteries. He lost as much as three fourths of his blood and collapsed on his way to Gemelli Hospital.
Many wondered as to what the motivation towards this dreadful act could be. There was one reason that was strongly advocated since early 1980’s by Michael Ledeen was that the assassination attempt had been designed by Moscow. He also stressed that the KGB had instructed the Bulgarian and east German secret services to accomplish this mission.
The KGB had feared the failure of Soviet domination over Poland (and East Europe) following the support of Pope John Paul II to their Solidarity movement. Therefore removing the Pope from their way to perpetual autocratic and totalitarian rule seemed to be the best idea.
Mehmet Ali Agca, once caught had many conflicting claims to divert the investigation procedure of the authorities. In turn, he helped open up many different leads relating to this issue. Agca was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Italian court. In the year of 1983, a couple of days after Christmas, the Pope went in person to meet Agca in the prison he was held captive. According to sources he spoke to Agca for 20 minutes to which he had sworn secrecy, and forgave the assassin for his attempted sin.
May 12th 1982, a second assassination attempt was made on him in Fatima, Portugal, when a man tried to stab him with a bayonet. The assailant was a traditional Spanish priest, Juan Maria Fernandez y Krohn. The reason that he stated for this attempt was that he was opposed to the changes brought about by the second Vatican council. He called the Pope an agent of Communist Moscow and the Marxist Eastern Bloc. Juan, following this incident had to leave priest hood and had served three out of six years of imprisonment. For obvious reasons he was treated for mental illness.
Pope John Paul II was also the target of Al-Quaeda funded operation Bojinka. This attempt was supposed to be made on his visit to Philippines during the World Youth Day. But fortunately this attempt was foiled before it could materialize.
Beautiful 24” bronze statues of the Pope add a sense of peace and security to the house where they are displayed. This unique collector’s item can also be presented to close friends and relatives and can be considered a very thoughtful gift.