Ivan Danyliuk, Graduate Student Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine


The article considers the role of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in solving the Cuban crisis of 1962 through the activities of Pope John XXIII.

The article considers the reasons and the beginning of the Caribbean crisis. A short chronology of the events which led to the crisis is presented: from the break of the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and intensifying relations between Havana and Washington to the sharpening thereof between the USA and the USSR in the Caribbean region during October 1962.

The article analyzes the activities of Pope John XXIII in solving the Caribbean crisis of 1962 and presents the message and his appeals to the leaders of the USA and the USSR during the peak of the Caribbean crisis. The assessment of Pope’s actions during the crisis and their role in solving thereof are described.

The article lists feedbacks of the world’s leaders towards the activities of Pope John XXIII, namely, the response to the message and appeals of Pope for peace from Nikita Khrushchev, John Kennedy etc.

The article provides the analysis of the Encyclical «Pacem in terris» published in April 1963. It emphasizes that the Encyclical is the answer to the crisis of war and is the first one covering the questions of war and peace.

In less than five years of pontificate, John XXIII was more than a reformer who convocated the Second Vatican Council and determined the face of the Catholic Church nowadays, but also a fighter for peace, therefore he was granted the name of «The Pope of Peace». John XXIII is also an example of the ability of a man of humble origins to execute huge moral influence on the most powerful men of the earth: for his actions during the missile crisis in Cuba, one of the biggest tension in the history of the Cold War, during which in the course of thirteen days — from October 16 till October 28, 1962 — the world came to the brink of nuclear disaster.

Key words: the Cuban missile crisis, peace, war, diplomacy, Holy See, Cuba, the USA, the USSR.

Full text


  1. Bertoli E. (2014). Fu Giovanni XXIII ad evitare la III Guerra Mondiale [It was John XXIII who avoided World War III]. [Online] Available from: http://www.korazym.org/14462/fu-giovanni-xxiii-ad-evitare-iii-guerra-mondiale/(inItalian). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  2. Castoro Р. (2008). La Murgia nella guerra fredda. Dai missili atomici agli itinerari della pace [The Murgia in the cold war. From atomic missiles to the routes of peace]. Altamura: Centro Studi Torre di Nebbia. P. 144. (in Italian).
  3. Carlesso L. (2012). La crisi di Cuba: il ruolo spesso dimenticato della Santa Sede [The Cuban crisis: the often forgot ten role of the Holy See]. [Online] Available from: http://www.lastampa.it/2012/10/06/vaticaninsider/ita/nel-mondo/la-crisi-di-cuba-il-ruolo-spesso-dimenticato-della-santa-sede-94NMqshPh8RMUeq8lp74EP/pagina.html (in Italian). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  4. Chomsky A. (2013). A History of the Cuban Revolution. New York: John Wiley &Sons. P. 242. (in English).
  5. Cuban Revolution. – 1959 Year in Review. United Press International. [Online] Available from: https://www.upi.com/Archives/Audio/Events-of-1959/Cuban-Revolution/ (in English). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  6. Gennari G. (2013). Quando papa Giovanni supplicò Krusciov per Cuba [When Pope John asked Khrushchev for Cuba]. [Online] Available from: http://www.lastampa.it/2013/11/22/vaticaninsider/ita/vaticano/quando-papa-giovanni-supplic-krusciov-per-cuba-h1E4c4wQgbaJUUg5Zkm0YO/pagina.html (in Italian). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  7. Giovanni XXIII. (1963). Pacem in terris [Pacem in terris]. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. (in Italian).
  8. Giovanni XXIII.(1962). Radiomessaggio all`Episcopato, ai fedeli e ai popoli di tutto il mondo, in occasione del Natale [Radiomessage to the Episcopate, to the faithful and to the peoples of the whole world, on the occasion of Christmas], 22 dicembre 1962. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. (in Italian).
  9. Hebblethwaite P. (2013). Giovanni XXIII: Il papa del Concilio [John XXIII: The Pope of the Council]. Roma: Castelvecchi.(in Italian).
  10. (2008) Health consequences of Cuba`s Special Period. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 179 (3). [Online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2474886/ (in English). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  11. IoannХХІІІ. Pravoslavnaja encyklopedja [John  Orthodox encyclopedia]. [Online] Available from: http://www.pravenc.ru/text/469716.html. (in Russian) [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  12. Juan XXIII.(1962). Radiomensaje de Su Santidad Juan XXIII por la paz y fraternidad entre los hombres [Radio message from His Holiness John XXIII for peace and fraternity between the people]. Jueves 25 de octubre de 1962.Ciudad del Vaticano: Librería Editrice Vaticana, 1962. (in Spanish).
  13. Kolosov L. (1963). PoslanieVaticana [Message from theVatican]. Izvestia. № 86 (14249). P. 4. (in Russian).
  14. Nunez Jimenez, A. (1959). Geografía de Cuba. Havana: Lex.(in Spanish).
  15. Rabe S. (1988). Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anticommunism. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. P. 239. (in English).
  16. Rendina С. (1983). I Papi. Storia e segreti. (The Popes. History and secrets). Roma: Newton Compton. (in Italian).
  17. Roncalli M. (2014). E Giovanni XXIII ordinò: «Parliamo con Mosca» [John XXIII ordered: «Let`s talk with Moscow»]. [Online] Available from: http://bergamo.corriere.it/notizie/cultura-e-spettacoli/14_aprile_20/giovanni-xxiii-ordino-parliamo-mosca-1763ffca-c95c-11e3-8f30-ecd4cc57e75b.shtml (in Italian). (in Italian) [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  18. (1962) «Spasti mir!». Vozzbanie papy Ioana XXIII [«Save the world!». Appeal of Pope John XXIII]. Pravda. № 299 (16155). P. 5. (in Russian).
  19. (1963) Text of Pope John’s Encyclica ‘Pacem in Terris’ Calling a World Community. New York Times. April 11, 1963. P. 17-19. (in English).
  20. The Cuban Missile Crisis Timeline. Nuclear files. Weapons. History. Cold-war. June 20, 1963. [Online] Available from: http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/history/cold-war/cuban-missile-crisis/timeline.htm (in English). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  21. The Economic Impact of U.S. Sanctions with Respect to Cuba. S International Trade Commission. [Online] Available from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=c0wCioRlTG0C&pg=SA2-PA2&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false (in English). [Accessed: 01.01.2018].
  22. Vasilieva O. (2004). Russkaja Pravoslavnaja Tserkov i II Vatikanskoi sobor [Russian Orthodox Church and the Second Vatican Council]. М.: Lepta. (in Russian).