Burundi Pope John Paul II 1920-2005 Souvenir Sheet MNH
Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus II; Italian: Giovanni Paolo II; Polish: Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła; [ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛv vɔjˈtɨwa]; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) served as Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005. He is called Saint John Paul the Great by some Catholics.
He was elected by the second Papal conclave of 1978, which was called after Pope John Paul I, who had been elected in August to succeed Pope Paul VI, died after thirty-three days. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected on the third day of the conclave and adopted his predecessor's name in tribute to him. John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He upheld the Church's teachings on such matters as artificial contraception and the ordination of women, but also supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reforms.
He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's bishops, and ordained many priests. A key goal of John Paul's papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great religious armada"..
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