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The Venerable Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II, French: Jean Paul II, German: Johannes Paul II), born Karol Józef Wojtyła (pronounced [ˈkaɾɔl ˈjuzɛv vɔi̯ˈtɨwa] ( listen); 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) served as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death over 26 years later. His was the second-longest documented pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer (St Peter the Apostle is reputed to have served for more than thirty years as the first pontiff; however documentation is too sparse to definitively support this). He has been the only Polish Pope to date, and was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in the 1520s.

John Paul II has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe as well as sign.... 


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