John Paul II

264th Pope John Paul II Full Name: John Paul II [Karol Józef Wojtyła]
Nationality: Polish

Profession: 264th Pope
Why Famous: The 2nd longest serving pope and the first non Italian for over 450 years he held office from 1978 to his death in 2005. Polish born, he supported the Solidarity movement in Poland and was influential in the fall of the Eastern Bloc. As pope he visited 129 countries. He upheld orthodox beliefs on issues such as sexuality and abortion and improved relations with other faiths.

Born: May 18, 1920
Star Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wadowice, Poland

Died: April 2, 2005 (aged 84)

Historical Events in the Life of John Paul II

  • 1944-02-29 Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II, is run down and injured by a Nazi truck in Krakow
  • 1967-05-29 Pope Paul VI names 27 new cardinals, including Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, who later became Pope John Paul II
  • 1978-10-16 Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla elected Pope John Paul II
  • 1978-10-22 Pope John Paul II is inaugurated as Pope
  • 1979-01-25 Pope John Paul II's 1st overseas trip as supreme pontiff
  • 1979-01-28 Pope John Paul II addresses the Third General Conference of Latin American Episcopate in Puebla, Mexico
  • 1979-05-27 Pope John Paul II ordains John J O'Connor as a bishop
  • 1979-06-02 John Paul II becomes 1st pope to visit a Communist country (Poland)
  • 1979-09-29 Pope John Paul II becomes 1st pope to visit Ireland
  • 1979-10-02 Pope John Paul II visits New York City, and at the U.N. denounces all concentration camps and torture
  • 1979-10-06 Pope John Paul II is 1st Pope to visit White House in Washington, D.C.
  • 1979-11-28 Pope John Paul II's first papal visit to Turkey, almost 1 1/2 years before Turkish native Mehmet Ali Agca attempts to kill him
  • 1980-06-22 Pope John Paul II beatifies Kateri Tekakwitha, making him the 1st Native American to be beatified
  • 1980-07-09 7 die in a stampede to see Pope John Paul II in Brazil
  • 1980-11-15 Pope John Paul II began 5 day visit to West Germany
  • 1981-01-15 Pope John Paul II receives Lech Wałęsa and Solidarity delegation at the Vatican
  • 1981-05-13 Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehemet Ali Agca in St Peter's Square, Vatican City
  • 1981-06-03 Pope John Paul II released from hospital after assassination attempt
  • 1981-06-20 Pope John Paul II hospitalized for 55 days for infection
  • 1981-09-15 Pope John Paul II publishes encyclical "Laborem exercens" against capitalism/Marxism
  • 1981-11-25 Pope John Paul II names Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger "Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith"
  • 1982-01-01 Pope John Paul II prays for an end to martial law in Poland
  • 1982-05-12 In Fatima Portugal, a Spanish Traditionalist priest who opposed Vatican II reforms and saw Pope John Paul II as a perpetrator of them, is stopped prior to his attempt to attack the Pope with a bayonet
  • 1982-05-23 Pope John Paul II declares "Peerke" Donders a saint
  • 1982-05-28 Pope John Paul II is 1st reigning pope to visit Great Britain (Adrian IV was born in England, as Nicholas Breakspear)
  • 1982-06-07 US President Reagan meets Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II
  • 1982-06-07 US President Ronald Reagan meets with Pope John Paul II at Vatican City, Rome
  • 1982-06-11 Pope John Paul II visits Argentina
  • 1982-09-15 Pope John Paul II receives PLO leader Yasser Arafat
  • 1982-10-10 Pope John Paul II canonizes Rev Maximilian Kolbe, who volunteered to die in place of another inmate at Auschwitz concentration camp, a saint
  • 1982-10-31 Pope John Paul II becomes first pontiff to visit Spain
  • 1983-02-02 Pope John Paul II names 18 new cardinals
  • 1983-06-16 Pope John Paul II visits Poland
  • 1983-06-23 Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa meets Pope John Paul II during papal visit to Poland
  • 1983-10-21 Pope John Paul II names 3 new Dutch bishops
  • 1983-12-11 1st visit to Lutheran church by a pope (John Paul II in Rome)
  • 1983-12-27 Pope John Paul II pardons man who shot him (Mehmet Ali Agca)
  • 1984-04-22 CBS premiere of TV film "Pope John Paul II", starring Albert Finney in title role
  • 1985-03-26 Pope John Paul II proclaims first ever World Youth Day
  • 1985-10-03 Pope John Paul II beatifies Titus Brandsma
  • 1986-02-02 Dalai Lama meets Pope John Paul II in India
  • 1986-04-13 Pope John Paul II met Rome's Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff at Rome synagogue
  • 1987-05-01 Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish born nun
  • 1987-06-25 Pope John Paul II receives Austrian President Kurt Waldheim
  • 1987-09-15 Pope John Paul II arrives in Los Angeles for a two-day papal visit, and addresses U.S. entertainment leaders
  • 1987-09-16 Pope John Paul II's ends his Los Angeles tour with an interfaith meeting at Dodger Stadium with leaders of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism
  • 1987-09-17 Pope John Paul II arrives in San Francisco, meets with AIDS patients, and embraces an AIDS infected child
  • 1988-09-25 Pope John Paul II beatifies Friar Junípero Serra (founder of 1st Californian missions)
  • 1988-10-12 Pope John Paul II is the target of anti-papal heckling by Protestant leader Ian Paisley at a European Parliament meeting in Strasbourgh, France
  • 1989-04-30 Pope John Paul II beatifies Victoire Rasoamanarivo of Madagascar
  • 1989-12-01 USSR Pres Mikhail Gorbachev meets Pope John Paul II at the Vatican
  • 1991-05-02 Pope John Paul II's encyclical on Centesimus annus
  • 1991-06-04 Pope John Paul II compares abortion with Nazi murders
  • 1992-07-15 Pope John Paul II hospitalized for 3 weeks to have tumor removed
  • 1993-03-21 Pope John Paul II declares Duns Scotus, a saint
  • 1993-07-02 Pope John Paul II hospitalized for Cat Scan test
  • 1993-08-06 Pope John Paul II publishes Veritatis splendor encyclical
  • 1993-08-11 Pope John Paul II visits Mexico
  • 1993-10-05 Pope John Paul II publishes encyclical Veritatis splendor
  • 1993-11-11 Pope John Paul II hospitalized for 2 days for fractured shoulder
  • 1994-02-20 Pope John Paul II demands juristic discrimination of homosexuals
  • 1994-06-12 -17] Pope John Paul II visits Spain
  • 1995-01-12 Pope John Paul II begins visit to SE Asia
  • 1995-01-18 Pope John Paul II begins visit to Australia
  • 1998-01-23 Pope John Paul II condemns US embargo against Cuba
  • 1998-01-25 Pope John Paul II visits Cuba and demands the release of political prisoners; he also condemns US moves to isolate the country
  • 1998-03-16 Pope John Paul II asks God for forgiveness for the inactivity and silence of some Roman Catholics during the Holocaust.
  • 1999-05-07 Pope John Paul II travels to Romania becoming the first pope to visit a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054.
  • 1999-12-24 Opening of St Peter's Holy Door by Pope John Paul II in approach of 3rd millennium
  • 1999-12-25 Opening of doors of St. John Lateran Pope John Paul II
  • 2000-01-01 Opening of St Mary Major's holy doors by Pope John Paul II
  • 2000-03-20 Pope John Paul II visits Holy Land - Jordan, Israel, Palestine
  • 2000-05-01 Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sings for Pope John Paul II in Rome
  • 2001-05-06 During a trip to Syria, Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to enter a mosque.
  • 2001-06-10 Pope John Paul II canonizes Lebanon's first female saint Saint Rafqa
  • 2001-06-27 Pope John Paul II beatifies 28 Ukrainian Greek Catholics, including 27 martyrs most of whom were killed by the Soviet secret police. Beatification takes place at the service in Lviv, western Ukraine during his first visit to this country.
  • 2002-04-23 Pope John Paul II meets with U.S. Catholic Church leaders at Vatican regarding sexual abuse of minors
  • 2003-10-19 Mother Teresa of Calcutta is beatified by Pope John Paul II.
  • 2004-11-27 Pope John Paul II returns the relics of Saint John Chrysostom to the Eastern Orthodox Church.
  • 2005-12-04 U.S. debut of the first part of two-part TV biopic miniseries "Pope John Paul II" on CBS
  • 2005-12-07 U.S. debut of the second part of two-part TV biopic miniseries "Pope John Paul II" on CBS
  • 2011-05-01 Pope John Paul II is beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

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