JP II gold coin commemorating Pope’s visit to Singapore in 1986. On the obverse is an image of Pope John-Paul II holding a crucifix with the inscription JOANNES PAULUS PP II. On the reverse is an image of Jesus with his apostles gathered around him. The inscription on the border reads:
SEYCHELLES AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND FIJI SINGAPORE BANGLADESH – 19 NOVEMBER – 1 DECEMBER 1986.
In 1986, Pope John Paul II embarked on the longest trip of his eight-year papacy, a 30,000-mile, two-week journey that would take him from Bangladesh through the South Pacific to Australia. The pope’s arrival on 20 November 1986 marked the first-ever visit to Singapore by a Catholic pope. During his brief stop in Singapore, Pope John Paul II met the Singapore president and prime minister, and conducted a mass attended by about 70,000 people at the National Stadium.
The pope was presented with four gifts representing the Chinese, Indian, Eurasian and Peranakan cultures of Singapore. The Chinese community presented a scroll bearing the characters for righteousness, as well as a bouquet of orchids. The Indian community presented a piece of gold brocade reserved for dignitaries, a silver tray with a chalice, and a jasmine garland. The Eurasians offered a pewter plate and a solid gold coin imprinted with the pope’s face on one side and a dove (the Singapore logo for the papal visit) on the other. The Peranakan community offered a rattan basket with traditional items representing good luck, prosperity and longevity, as well as an ivory piece the size of a fingernail, with the Lord’s Prayer carved on it in micro-calligraphy.
Donated by St Francis Xavier Major Seminary.