Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

Overview
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła (ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛf vɔjˈtɨwa; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), reigned as Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 (1846–1878) who served 31 years, has reigned longer.
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Timeline

1978   Pope John Paul II is elected after the October 1978 Papal conclave.

1978   As Bishop of Rome Pope John Paul II takes possession of his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

1979   Pope John Paul II first official visit to his native Poland, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country.

1979   Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to set foot on Irish soil with his pastoral visit to the Republic of Ireland.

1981   Mehmet Ali Ağca attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square in Rome. The Pope is rushed to the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic to undergo emergency surgery and survives.

1982   During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower Juan Fernandez Krohn before he can attack Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. Krohn, an ultraconservative Spanish priest opposed to the Vatican II reforms, believed that the Pope had to be killed for being an "agent of Moscow".

1984   103 Korean Martyrs are canonized by Pope John Paul II in Seoul

1987   Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1998   During a historic visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II demands the release of political prisoners and political reforms while condemning US attempts to isolate the country.

1998   Pope John Paul II asks God for forgiveness for the inactivity and silence of some Roman Catholics during the Holocaust.

 
Quotations

"This people draws its origin from Abraham, our father in faith The very people that received from God the commandment Thou shalt not kill itself experienced in a special measure what is meant by killing. It is not permissible for anyone to pass by this inscription with indifference."

Before the Hebrew inscription commemorating the Jews killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. (1979)

My dear ones, I will not make a comparative analysis. I will only say that it is what costs that constitutes value. It is not, in fact, possible to be truly free without an honest and profound relationship with values. We do not want a Poland which costs us nothing.

Speech made before Solidarity members whilst visiting Poland for the third time (1983)

"The Jewish religion is not extrinsic to us but in a certain way intrinsic to our own religion. With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and, in a certain way, it can be said that you are our elder brothers."

Visiting a Jewish synagogue in Rome. (1986)

"All human activity takes place within a culture and interacts with culture. For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. Furthermore, he displays his capacity for self-control, personal sacrifice, solidarity and readiness to promote the common good."

Centesimus Annus address (1991-05-05)

"Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase."

Evangelium vitae, Introduction, (1995)

"You applaud, even though you don't understand me."

Quipped by the pope during a mass in Central Park, New York City after he recited a prayer in Polish to the applauding English-speaking crowd (October, 1995)

"Never again war. Never again hatred and intolerance."

Where: Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. (1997-04-12)
Encyclopedia
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła (ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛf vɔjˈtɨwa; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), reigned as Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 (1846–1878) who served 31 years, has reigned longer. Pope John Paul II is the only Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 or Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 pope to date and was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 Pope Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI , born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens, served as Pope from 9 January 1522 until his death some 18 months later...

 (1522–1523).

John Paul II has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. Conversely, he denounced the excesses of capitalism. John Paul II is widely said to have significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

. Though criticised by progressives for upholding the Church's teachings against artificial contraception
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

 and the ordination of women
Ordination of women
Ordination in general religious usage is the process by which a person is consecrated . The ordination of women is a regular practice among some major religious groups, as it was of several religions of antiquity...

, he was also criticised by traditionalists for his support of the Church's Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 and its reform of the Liturgy
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 as well as his ecumenical efforts.

He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He spoke Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, Russian, Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

, and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 as well as his native Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness
Universal call to holiness
Universal Call to Holiness and Apostolate is a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that all people are called to be holy. This Church teaching states that all within the church should live holy lives....

, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable
Venerable
The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles.-Roman Catholic:...

 by his successor Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 and was beatified on 1 May 2011.

Early life




Karol Józef Wojtyła (Anglicised
Anglicisation
Anglicisation, or anglicization , is the process of converting verbal or written elements of any other language into a form that is more comprehensible to an English speaker, or, more generally, of altering something such that it becomes English in form or character.The term most often refers to...

: Charles Joseph Wojtyla) was born in the Polish town of Wadowice
Wadowice
Wadowice is a town in southern Poland, 50 km from Kraków with 19,200 inhabitants , situated on the Skawa river, confluence of Vistula, in the eastern part of Silesian Plateau...

 and was the youngest of three children of Karol Wojtyła, an ethnic Pole
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, and Emilia Kaczorowska, who is described as being of Lithuanian
Lithuanians
Lithuanians are the Baltic ethnic group native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,765,600 people. Another million or more make up the Lithuanian diaspora, largely found in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Russia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their native language...

 or Ukrainian
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 ancestry. His mother died on 13 April 1929, when he was eight years old. Karol's elder sister, Olga, had died in infancy before his birth; thus, he grew close to his brother Edmund, who was 14 years his senior, and whom he nicknamed Mundek. However, Edmund's work as a physician led to his death from scarlet fever
Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is a disease caused by exotoxin released by Streptococcus pyogenes. Once a major cause of death, it is now effectively treated with antibiotics...

, profoundly affecting Karol.

As a youth, Wojtyła was an athlete and often played football as a goalkeeper. His formative years were influenced by numerous contacts with the vibrant and prospering Jewish community of Wadowice. School football games were often organised between teams of Jews and Catholics, and Wojtyła would voluntarily offer himself as a substitute goalkeeper on the Jewish side if they were short of players.

In mid-1938, Karol Wojtyła and his father left Wadowice and moved to Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, where he enrolled at the Jagiellonian University
Jagiellonian University
The Jagiellonian University was established in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kazimierz . It is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world....

. While studying such topics as philology
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 and various languages at the University, he worked as a volunteer librarian and was required to participate in compulsory military training
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 in the Academic Legion, but he refused to fire a weapon
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

. He performed with various theatrical groups and worked as a playwright. During this time, his talent for language blossomed and he learned as many as 12 foreign languages, nine of which he later used extensively as Pope.

In 1939, Nazi German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 occupation forces closed the Jagiellonian University after the invasion of Poland. All able-bodied
Able-bodied
Able-bodied refers, in law, to an individual's physical or mental capacity for gainful employment or military service, and it is in this sense that the term is also used regarding eligibility for payment of child support or alimony....

 males were required to work, and, from 1940 to 1944, Wojtyła variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant, a manual labour
Manual labour
Manual labour , manual or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and also to that done by working animals...

er in a limestone quarry and for the Solvay
Solvay (company)
Solvay S.A. is a Belgian chemical company with its head office in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. It was founded in 1863 by Ernest Solvay to produce sodium carbonate by the solvay process. Since then the company has diversified to two major sectors of activity: chemicals and plastics...

 chemical factory to avoid being deported to Germany. His father, a non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 in the Polish Army
Polish Land Forces
The Polish Land Forces are a branch of Poland's Armed Forces. They currently contain some 65,000 active personnel and form many components of EU and NATO deployments around the world.-History:...

, died of a heart attack in 1941, leaving Karol the sole surviving member of his immediate family. "I was not at my mother's death, I was not at my brother's death, I was not at my father's death," he said, reflecting on these times of his life, nearly forty years later, "At twenty, I had already lost all the people I loved."

He later stated that he began thinking seriously about the priesthood after his father's death, and that his vocation
Vocation
A vocation , is a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified. Though now often used in non-religious contexts, the meanings of the term originated in Christianity.-Senses:...

 gradually became ‘an inner fact of unquestionable and absolute clarity.’ In October 1942, increasingly aware of his calling to the priesthood, he knocked on the door of the Archbishop's Palace in Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, and declared that he wanted to study for the priesthood. Soon after, he began courses in the clandestine underground seminary
Education in Poland during World War II
This article covers the topic of underground education in Poland during World War II. Secret learning prepared new cadres for the post-war reconstruction of Poland and countered the German and Soviet threat to exterminate the Polish culture....

 run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha
Adam Stefan Sapieha
Prince Adam Stefan Stanisław Bonifacy Józef Sapieha was a Polish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Kraków. Between 1922–1923 he was a senator of the Second Rzeczpospolita. In 1946, Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal....

.

On 29 February 1944, Wojtyła was knocked down by a German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 truck. German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 then tended to him and sent him to a hospital. He spent two weeks there recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury. This accident and his survival seemed to Wojtyła a confirmation of his priestly vocation. On 6 August 1944, ‘Black Sunday’, the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 rounded up young men in Kraków to avoid an uprising
Krakow Uprising (1944)
The Kraków Uprising was a planned but never realized uprising of the Polish Resistance against the German occupation in the city of Kraków during World War II.- Background :...

 similar to the previous uprising in Warsaw
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

. Wojtyła escaped by hiding in the basement of his uncle's home at 10 Tyniecka Street, while German troops searched upstairs. More than eight thousand men and boys were taken into custody that day, but he escaped to the Archbishop's Palace, where he remained in hiding until after the Germans left.

On the night of 17 January 1945, the Germans fled the city, and the students reclaimed the ruined seminary
Seminary
A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry...

. Wojtyła and another seminarian volunteered for the unenviable task of clearing away piles of frozen excrement from the lavatories. That month, Wojtyła personally aided a 14-year-old Jewish refugee girl named Edith Zierer who had run away from a Nazi labour camp in Częstochowa
Czestochowa
Częstochowa is a city in south Poland on the Warta River with 240,027 inhabitants . It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously the capital of Częstochowa Voivodeship...

. After her collapse on a railway platform
Railway platform
A railway platform is a section of pathway, alongside rail tracks at a train station, metro station or tram stop, at which passengers may board or alight from trains or trams. Almost all stations for rail transport have some form of platforms, with larger stations having multiple platforms...

, Wojtyła carried her to a train and accompanied her safely to Kraków. Zierer credits Wojtyła with saving her life that day. B'nai B'rith
B'nai B'rith
B'nai B'rith International |Covenant]]" is the oldest continually operating Jewish service organization in the world. It was initially founded as the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith in New York City, on , 1843, by Henry Jones and 11 others....

 and other authorities have said that Wojtyla helped protect many other Polish Jews
History of the Jews in Poland
The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the...

 from the Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

.

Priesthood


On completion of his studies at the seminary in Kraków, Karol Wojtyła was ordained
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 as a priest on All Saints' Day
All Saints
All Saints' Day , often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown...

, 1 November 1946, by the Archbishop of Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, Cardinal Sapieha
Adam Stefan Sapieha
Prince Adam Stefan Stanisław Bonifacy Józef Sapieha was a Polish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Kraków. Between 1922–1923 he was a senator of the Second Rzeczpospolita. In 1946, Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal....

. He was then sent to study theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 in Rome, at the Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum, where he earned a licentiate
Licentiate of Sacred Theology
Licentiate of Sacred Theology is the title of the second cycle of studies of a Faculty of Theology offered by a pontifical universities or ecclesiastical faculties of sacred theology. An Ecclesiastical Faculty offers three cycles of study: Baccalaureate or fundamentals, Licentiate or specialized,...

 and later a doctorate in sacred theology
Doctor of Sacred Theology
The Doctor of Sacred Theology is the final theological degree in the pontifical university system of the Catholic Church....

. This doctorate, the first of two, was based on the Latin dissertation The Doctrine of Faith According to Saint John of the Cross.

He returned to Poland in the summer of 1948 with his first pastoral
Pastoral
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...

 assignment in the village of Niegowić
Niegowic
Niegowić is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Gdów, within Wieliczka County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It lies approximately south-east of Wieliczka and south-east of the regional capital Kraków....

, fifteen miles from Kraków. Arriving at Niegowić during harvest time, his first action was to kneel down and kiss the ground. This gesture, adapted from French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, would become one of his ‘trademarks’ during his Papacy.

In March 1949, Wojtyła was transferred to the parish of Saint Florian
Saint Florian
Florian lived in the time of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian, and was commander of the imperial army in the Roman province of Noricum. In addition to his military duties, he was also responsible for organizing firefighting brigades....

 in Kraków. He taught ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 at the Jagiellonian University
Jagiellonian University
The Jagiellonian University was established in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kazimierz . It is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world....

 and subsequently at the Catholic University of Lublin
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin is located in Lublin, Poland. Presently it has an enrollment of over 19,000 students...

. While teaching, he gathered a group of about 20 young people, who began to call themselves Rodzinka, the "little family". They met for prayer, philosophical discussion, and helping the blind and sick. The group eventually grew to approximately 200 participants, and their activities expanded to include annual skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 and kayak
Kayak
A kayak is a small, relatively narrow, human-powered boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double blade paddle.The traditional kayak has a covered deck and one or more cockpits, each seating one paddler...

ing trips.

In 1954, he earned a second doctorate, in philosophy, evaluating the feasibility of a Catholic ethic based on the ethical system of phenomenologist Max Scheler
Max Scheler
Max Scheler was a German philosopher known for his work in phenomenology, ethics, and philosophical anthropology...

. However, the Communist authorities' intervention prevented his receiving the degree until 1957.

During this period, Wojtyła wrote a series of articles in Kraków's Catholic newspaper Tygodnik Powszechny
Tygodnik Powszechny
Tygodnik Powszechny is a Polish Roman Catholic weekly magazine, focusing on social and cultural issues. Established in 1945 under the auspices of Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, Jerzy Turowicz was its editor-in-chief until his death in 1999. He was succeeded by priest Adam Boniecki.-History:The...

("Universal Weekly") dealing with contemporary church issues. He focused on creating original literary work
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 during his first dozen years as a priest. War, life under Communism, and his pastoral responsibilities all fed his poetry and plays. However, he published his work under two pseudonyms – Andrzej Jawień and Stanisław Andrzej Gruda – to distinguish his literary from his religious writings (which were published under his own name) and also so that his literary works would be considered on their own merits. In 1960, Wojtyła published the influential theological book Love and Responsibility
Love and Responsibility
Love and Responsibility is a book written by Karol Wojtyła before he became Pope John Paul II and was originally published in Polish in 1960 and in English in 1981....

, a defence of the traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint.

Bishop and cardinal



On 4 July 1958, while Wojtyła was on a kayaking
Kayaking
Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle...

 vacation in the lakes region of northern Poland, Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 appointed him to the position of auxiliary bishop
Auxiliary bishop
An auxiliary bishop, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer, or the diocese is attached to a royal or imperial office...

 of Kraków. He was then summoned to Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 to meet the Primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

 of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, who informed him of the appointment. He agreed to serve as an Auxiliary Bishop to Krakow's Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 Eugeniusz Baziak
Eugeniusz Baziak
Eugeniusz Baziak was Archbishop of Lwów and Apostolic Administrator of Kraków. Baziak was rector of the Clerical Seminarium in Lwów. Since 1933 he was an auxiliary bishop and, since 1944, Archbishop of Lwów...

, and he was ordained to the Episcopate (as Titular Bishop of Ombi
Ombi
Ombi is a titular see in the Catholic church; the see corresponds to the city now known as Kom Ombo in Egypt.Its main claim to fame is that Karol Wojtyła was titular bishop of Ombi from 1958 until 1963, when he was appointed Archbishop of Kraków.In Polish it seems to be called Ombria Ombi is a...

) on 28 September 1958. Archbishop Baziak was the principal consecrator. Then-Auxiliary Bishop Boleslaw Kominek
Boleslaw Kominek
Bolesław Kominek was a Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Wrocław from 1972 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1973.-Biography:...

 (Titular Bishop of Sophene
Sophene
Sophene , or ) was a province of the Armenian Kingdom and of the Roman Empire, located in the south-west of the kingdom. It currently lies in modern-day southeastern Turkey....

 and Vaga
Vaga
Vaga may refer to:*Vaga, Marwar artist*Vågå, a municipality in Norway.*Vaga, described by Zimmerman in 1958, a gossamer-winged butterfly genus usually included in Udara today...

; of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wroclaw and future Cardinal Archbishop of Wroclaw) and then-Auxiliary Bishop Franciszek Jop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandomierz (Titular Bishop of Daulia; later Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw and then Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Opole) were the principal co-consecrators. At the age of 38, he became the youngest bishop in Poland. Baziak died in June 1962 and on 16 July, Karol Wojtyła was selected as Vicar Capitular, or temporary administrator, of the Archdiocese until an Archbishop could be appointed.

Beginning in October 1962, Bishop Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 (1962–1965), where he made contributions to two of the most historic and influential products of the council, the Decree on Religious Freedom (in Latin, Dignitatis Humanae
Dignitatis Humanae
Dignitatis Humanae is the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom. In the context of the Council's stated intention “to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society”, Dignitatis Humanae spells out the...

) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes
Gaudium et Spes
Gaudium et Spes , the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, was one of the four Apostolic Constitutions resulting from the Second Vatican Council...

).

Bishop Wojtyła participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

. On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 appointed him Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

. On 26 June 1967, Paul VI announced Archbishop Wojtyła's promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

. He was named Cardinal-Priest of the titulus of San Cesareo in Palatio
San Cesareo in Palatio
San Cesareo in Palatio or San Caesareo de Appia is a titular church in Rome, near the beginning of the Appian Way. It is dedicated to Saint Caesarius of Africa, a 2nd century deacon and martyr.-Origins:...

.

In 1967, he was instrumental in formulating the encyclical
Encyclical
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

 Humanae Vitae
Humanae Vitae
Humanae Vitae is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and issued on 25 July 1968. Subtitled On the Regulation of Birth, it re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continuing proscription of most forms of birth...

, which deals with the same issues that forbid abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 and artificial birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

. According to a contemporary witness, Cardinal Wojtyla in 1970 was against the distribution and reading in the Kraków diocese a pastoral letter that the Polish Episcopate was preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War was an armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine and the Second Polish Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic—four states in post–World War I Europe...

.

Election to the Papacy


In August 1978, following the death of Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

, Cardinal Wojtyła voted in the Papal conclave that elected Pope John Paul I
Pope John Paul I
John Paul I , born Albino Luciani, , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and as Sovereign of Vatican City from 26 August 1978 until his death 33 days later. His reign is among the shortest in papal history, resulting in the most recent Year of Three Popes...

, who at 65 was considered young by papal standards. John Paul I died after only 33 days as Pope, thereby precipitating another conclave.

The second conclave of 1978 commenced on 14 October, ten days after the funeral of Pope John Paul I
Pope John Paul I
John Paul I , born Albino Luciani, , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and as Sovereign of Vatican City from 26 August 1978 until his death 33 days later. His reign is among the shortest in papal history, resulting in the most recent Year of Three Popes...

. It was divided between two strong candidates for the papacy
Papabile
Papabile is an unofficial Italian term first coined by Vaticanologists and now used internationally in many languages to describe a cardinal of whom it is thought likely or possible that he will be elected pope. A literal English translation would be "popeable" or "one who might become pope".In...

: Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the conservative Archbishop of Genoa
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Genoa
The Archdiocese of Genoa is a metropolitan see of the Catholic Church in Italy.Erected in the third century, it was elevated to an archdiocese on 20 March 1133...

, and the liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 Archbishop of Florence
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence
The Archdiocese of Florence is a metropolitan see of the Catholic Church in Italy. Traditionally founded in the 1st century, it was elevated to the dignity of an archdiocese on May 10, 1419, by Pope Martin V. Its mother church is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, which has as its pastor the...

, Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, a close associate of John Paul I.

Supporters of Benelli were confident that he would be elected, and in early ballot
Ballot
A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the...

s, Benelli came within nine votes of election. However, the scale of opposition to both men meant that neither was likely to receive the votes needed for election, and Franz Cardinal König
Franz König
Franz König was an Austrian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Vienna from 1956 to 1985, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1958...

, Archbishop of Vienna
Archbishop of Vienna
The Archbishop of Vienna is the prelate of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna who is concurrently the metropolitan bishop of its ecclesiastical province which includes the dioceses of Eisenstadt, Linz and St. Pölten....

, individually suggested to his fellow electors a compromise candidate: the Polish Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

, Karol Józef Wojtyła. Wojtyła ultimately won the election on the eighth ballot on the second day with, according to the Italian press, 99 votes from the 111 participating electors. He subsequently chose the name John Paul II in honour of his immediate predecessor, and the traditional white smoke informed the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square that a pope had been chosen. He accepted his election with these words: ‘With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.’ When the new pontiff appeared on the balcony, he broke tradition by addressing the gathered crowd:
Wojtyła became the 264th Pope according to the chronological list of popes and the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. At only 58 years of age, he was the youngest pope elected since Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 in 1846, who was 54. Like his immediate predecessor, Pope John Paul II dispensed with the traditional Papal coronation
Papal Coronation
A papal coronation was the ceremony of the placing of the Papal Tiara on a newly elected pope. The first recorded papal coronation was that of Pope Celestine II in 1143. Soon after his coronation in 1963, Pope Paul VI abandoned the practice of wearing the tiara. His successors have chosen not to...

 and instead received ecclesiastical investiture
Investiture
Investiture, from the Latin is a rather general term for the formal installation of an incumbent...

 with the simplified Papal inauguration
Papal Inauguration
The Papal Inauguration is a liturgical service of the Catholic Church within Mass celebrated in the Roman Rite but with elements of Byzantine Rite for the ecclesiastical investiture of the Pope...

 on 22 October 1978. During his inauguration, when the cardinals were to kneel before him to take their vows and kiss his ring, he stood up as the Polish prelate Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński knelt down, stopped him from kissing the ring, and hugged him.

Teachings



As pope, one of John Paul II's most important roles was to teach people about Christianity. He wrote 14 papal encyclicals and taught about "The Theology of the Body".

In his At the beginning of the third millennium (Novo Millennio Ineunte
Novo Millennio Ineunte
Novo Millennio Ineunte is an apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II, addressed to the Bishops Clergy and Lay Faithful, "At the Close of the Great Jubilee of 2000"....

), he emphasised the importance of "starting afresh from Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

": "No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person."

In The Splendour of the Truth (Veritatis Splendor
Veritatis Splendor
Veritatis Splendor is an encyclical by Pope John Paul II. It expresses the position of the Catholic Church regarding fundamentals of the Church's role in moral teaching. The encyclical is one of the most comprehensive and philosophical teachings of moral theology in the Catholic tradition...

), he emphasised the dependence of man on God and His Law ("Without the Creator, the creature disappears") and the "dependence of freedom on the truth". He warned that man "giving himself over to relativism
Relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

 and skepticism
Skepticism
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...

, goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself".

In Fides et Ratio
Fides et Ratio
Fides et Ratio is an encyclical promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 14 September 1998. It deals primarily with the relationship between faith and reason....

(On the Relationship between Faith and Reason) John Paul promoted a renewed interest in philosophy and an autonomous pursuit for truth in theological matters. Drawing on many different sources (such as Thomism
Thomism
Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, his commentaries on Aristotle are his most lasting contribution...

), he described the mutually supporting relationship between faith and reason
Faith and rationality
Faith and rationality are two modes of belief that exist in varying degrees of conflict or compatibility. Rationality is belief based on reason or evidence. Faith is belief in inspiration, revelation, or authority...

, and emphasised that theologians should focus on that relationship.

John Paul II wrote extensively about workers and the social doctrine
Catholic social teaching
Catholic social teaching is a body of doctrine developed by the Catholic Church on matters of poverty and wealth, economics, social organization and the role of the state...

 of the Church, which he discussed in three encyclicals. Through his encyclicals and many Apostolic Letters
General epistles
General epistles are books in the New Testament in the form of letters. They are termed "general" because for the most part their intended audience seems to be Christians in general rather than individual persons or congregations as is the case with the Pauline epistles...

 and Exhortations, John Paul talked about the dignity
Dignity
Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical treatment. It is an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights...

 of women and the importance of the family for the future of humanity.

Other encyclical
Encyclical
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

s include The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae
Evangelium Vitae
Evangelium Vitae is the name of the encyclical written by Pope John Paul II which expresses the position of the Catholic Church regarding the value and inviolability of human life...

) and Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One). Despite critics who accused him of inflexibility, he explicitly re-asserted Catholic moral teachings against murder, euthanasia and abortion that have been in place for well over a thousand years.

Pastoral trips





During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II made trips to 129 countries, and logged more than 1.1 million km (725,000 miles). He consistently attracted large crowds on his travels, some amongst the largest ever assembled in human history
History of the world
The history of the world or human history is the history of humanity from the earliest times to the present, in all places on Earth, beginning with the Paleolithic Era. It excludes non-human natural history and geological history, except insofar as the natural world substantially affects human lives...

 like the Manila World Youth Day
World Youth Day 1995
World Youth Day 1995 was a Catholic youth festival that took place from January 10–15, 1995 in Manila, Philippines. It was the first time for an Asian country to host the event...

, which gathered around 5 million people. Some have suggested that it may have been the largest Christian gathering ever, although this is not certain.

John Paul II's earliest official visits were to the Dominican Republic and Mexico in January 1979 and to Poland in June 1979, where ecstatic crowds constantly surrounded him. This first trip to Poland uplifted the whole nation's spirit and sparked the formation of the Solidarity movement in 1980, which brought freedom and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 to his troubled country. On later trips to Poland, he gave tacit support to the organization. Successive trips reinforced this message and Poland began the process that would finally defeat the domination of communist regimes under the lead of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in Central Europe between 1989 (reintroduction of democracy in Poland) and 1990, Eastern Europe (1990–1991) and South-Eastern Europe (1990–1992).

While some of his trips (such as to the United States and the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

) were to places previously visited by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

, John Paul II became the first pope to visit the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 during his October 1979 U.S. trip, where he was greeted warmly by then-President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

. He travelled to countries that no pope had ever visited before. He was the first pope to visit Mexico in January 1979, before his initial trip to Poland as Pope, as well as to Ireland later that year. He was the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom
Pope John Paul II's visit to the United Kingdom
Pope John Paul II's visit to the United Kingdom in 1982 was the first visit to that country by a reigning pope. John Paul arrived in the UK on 28 May 1982, and during his time there visited 9 cities, delivering 16 major addresses...

, in 1982, where he met Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

, the Supreme Governor
Supreme Governor of the Church of England
The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

 of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. He travelled to Haiti in 1983, where he spoke in Creole
Creole language
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from...

 to thousands of impoverished Catholics gathered to greet him at the airport. His message, "things must change in Haiti", referring to the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, was met with thunderous applause. In 2000, he was the first modern pope to visit Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, where he met with the Coptic pope, Pope Shenouda III
Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria
Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is the 117th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria...

 and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. He was the first Catholic pope to visit and pray in an Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic mosque, in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, Syria, in 2001. He visited the Umayyad Mosque
Umayyad Mosque
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist , is located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world...

, a former Christian church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

 where John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 is believed to be interred, where he made a speech calling for Muslims, Christians and Jews to work together.

On 15 January 1995, during the X World Youth Day
World Youth Day 1995
World Youth Day 1995 was a Catholic youth festival that took place from January 10–15, 1995 in Manila, Philippines. It was the first time for an Asian country to host the event...

, he offered Mass to an estimated crowd of between five and seven million in Luneta Park
Rizal Park
Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta, is a historical urban park located in the heart of the city of Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Manila, now Intramuros. Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the park has been a favorite spot for unwinding, socializing,...

, Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Philippines, which was considered to be the largest single gathering in Christian history
History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, its followers and the Church with its various denominations, from the first century to the present. Christianity was founded in the 1st century by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who they believed to be the Christ or chosen one of God...

. In March 2000, while visiting Jerusalem, John Paul became the first pope in history to visit and pray at the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

. In September 2001, amidst post-11 September concerns, he travelled to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, with an audience largely consisting of Muslims, and to Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, to participate in the celebration of the 1,700 years of Christianity in that nation.
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