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John Paul II, Pope (since 1978), ecclesiastical Karol Wojtyla. 1920–2005.

Pope John Paul II during his journey in Poland.

Photo, 1983 (Lotti).
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May 2020: 100 years since the Birth of Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II (born Karol Józef Wojtyla) was born on 18 May 2020 in the Polish town of Wadowice.

Growing up during World War II and having lost all members of his family by the time he was 20, he started thinking seriously about the priesthood. In October 1942, while the war continued, he started to study for the priesthood and was ordained as a priest on All Saints' Day, 1st November 1946.

He will be remembered as a pope who resisted pressures to modernise the church's values and a man who changed history by precipitating the fall of Soviet communism.

He was declared a saint in April 2014.