Table topping: parliament rolls out list of famous Poles named patrons of 2020

John Paul II tops the list of patrons for 2020. Bartłomiej Zborowski/PAP

Pope John Paul II tops the list of patrons for 2020 announced by the Polish parliament. The late pope is joined by hetman Stanislaw Żółkiewski, writer Leopold Tyrmand and philosopher Roman Ingarden.

Parliamentarians have also named 2020 as the Year of the Battle of Warsaw and the Marriage of Poland to the Sea, events that both took place 100 years ago.

The first of the patrons of 2020 will be Saint John Paul II, whose 100th birthday will fall on May 18 this year.

“He occupies a special place in the history of Poland and Europe,” said parliamentarians.STR/PAP/EPA

"He occupies a special place in the history of Poland and Europe, and his determined claim to our homeland’s right to freedom among the nations of Europe and his practical defence of our nation's rights made the Holy Father the most important of the fathers of Polish independence," MPs stated in the resolution passed to create the patrons.

They also pointed out that during John Paul II's first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979 the process began that resulted in the creation of Solidarity, the liberation of the nation from the rule of communism and the restoration of European unity.

Writer and journalist Leopold Tyrmand is another patron owing to “his courage and intellectual independence.”PAP

The second patron of 2020 is the Polish hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski, one of Poland’s greatest military commanders whose best-known victory was against combined Russian and Swedish forces at the battle of Klushino in 1610.

In the aftermath of the battle the Poles seized and occupied Moscow, Żółkiewski captured the Russian Tsar Vasily Shuisky and sent him, with his brothers to Warsaw, where he was kept in a specially built tower.

Signing off on his 2020 patronage, parliamentarians wrote: “Stanisław Żółkiewski took part in all the wars fought by the Republic in the second half of the 16th century and the early 17th century. First he fought alongside the experienced leader and chancellor Jan Zamoyski, participated in expeditions against the Habsburgs and Moscow, Moldova and Wallachia, and later won, commanding in many campaigns against Russia, Sweden, Cossacks, Turkey and the Tatars.”

Philosopher Roman Ingarden makes the list.Irena Jarosińska/PAP

He died on October 7, 1620, during the Commonwealth's retreat after the Battle of Cecora against the Ottomans during the Polish–Ottoman War, thereby making 2020 the 400th anniversary of his death.

Poland’s third patron for 2020 is Roman Ingarden, one of the country’s most prominent Polish philosophers.

"His intellectual intransigence deserves special emphasis. During the German occupation, he wrote his flagship work ‘The Dispute about the Existence of the World’. In 1950, for his critical attitude towards Marxism, he was deprived of the right to lecture at the Jagiellonian University or publish works on phenomenology,” MPs wrote.

Historical enthusiast re-enact a scene from the Battle of Warsaw, which took place 100 years ago this year.Leszek Szymański/PAP

His students included future pope Karol Wojtyła. This year marks 50 years since his death.

The final patron is writer and journalist Leopold Tyrmand, who wrote in the 1950s and 1960s, and is still popular today. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth and the 35th anniversary of his death.

The victory over Soviet forces secured the independence of the fledgling Polish republic.Leszek Szymański/PAP

The author of ‘Zły’ [The Man with the White Eyes], a gloomy tale of crooks and criminals in Socialist Poland, was described by MPs as “one of the most unconventional Polish writers of the second half of the 20th century. In the most difficult times he showed courage and intellectual independence.”

The Sejm also decided that 2020 will be the Year of the Battle of Warsaw, the decisive Polish victory in 1920 during the Polish–Soviet War, when on the verge of total defeat Polish forces repulsed and defeated the Red Army.

This year is also the Year of Poland’s Wedding to the Sea, which took place on February 10, 1920 in Puck, and symbolised Poland’s regained access to the Baltic Sea that was lost in 1793 after the Partitions of Poland.