Coins of Pope John XXIII


Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in 1881 in Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo. He was educated at Bergamo and the Seminario Romano of the Apollinare in Rome, to be ordained in 1904. Called up for service in World War I, he was first in the medical corps and was later a chaplain. In 1925 he was made archbishop and sent as Vatican diplomatic representative to Bulgaria. Later he was representative in Turkey and Greece, and in 1944 he was named papal nuncio to France. In 1953 he was made cardinal and the patriarch of Venice.

He was elected pope October 28, 1958 as successor of Pius XII. As pope, he was active in promoting cooperation with other religions. In April, 1959, he forbade Roman Catholics to vote for parties supporting Communism, but his encyclical Mater et Magistra, issued on July 14, 1961, advocated social reform, assistance to underdeveloped countries, and support for all socialist measures that promised real benefit to society.

On January 25, 1959, he announced the intention of calling an ecumenical council to consider measures for renewal of the church in the modern world, promotion of diversity within the encasing unity of the church, and the reforms that had been earnestly promoted by the ecumenical movement and the liturgical movement. The beginning of the council was on Oct. 11, but he died in 1963 and was succeeded by Paul VI. In 1965 the process of beatification of John XXIII was begun.

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