Pope John Paul II
|Pope John Paul II|
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Pope John Paul II (born Karol Józef Wojtyła on May 18, 1920) reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death more than 26 years later on April 2, 2005. He was the first Polish Pope and the first non-Italian Pope since the Dutch Adrian VI in the 1520s. His early reign was marked by his opposition to communism, and he is often credited as one of the forces which contributed to its collapse in Eastern Europe. During his reign, he travelled extensively, visiting over 100 countries, more than any of his predecessors. He is known for the large number of people he canonized.
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