Holiness

10 05 2008

Burundi stamp with Pope Paul VIBurundi, Scott B39, 1969, 47mm x 29mm
A stamp commemorating Pope Paul VI’s visit to Uganda. The map shows northern and central Africa with Kampala, Uganda, labelled and highlighted with a yellow tinge against the dark green, a dotted line pointing back to the Vatican showing the line of travel. The two countries are not neighbors, but both are located in the east central section of the continent. Several other countries in the area issued commemoratives on this occasion as well.

An inscrption on the stamp indicates this was the first papal visit to sub-Saharan Africa (Paul VI was the first pope to travel on an airplane). He visited the site where a large number of Catholics were martyred during persecutions in the late 19th century, including 22 who were eventually canonized.

Nearly two-thirds of the population of Burundi is Roman Catholic, which used to be a French colony.

At the time this stamp was issued, the current pontiff Benedict XVI was an academic theologian at the University of Regensburg, well before he was to be appointed a bishop or the leader of the Inquisition.

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