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Pope John Paul II

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Pope John Paul II's Achievements

By The Associated Press -- Pope John Paul II, 1920 -- 2005

  • Pope John Paul II was the longest serving pope of the 20th century. The next closest was Pius XII, who was pope for 19 years (1939-1958).
  • Pope John Paul II ranks third among all popes, in years as pontiff. The Vatican says the first leader of the church, the apostle Peter, served for 34 or 37 years. Number two is Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), who was pope for 31 years, seven months, and 21 days. In March 2004, John Paul II surpassed Leo XIII (1878-1903), and was pope for 25 years and five months.
  • Pope John Paul wrote five books that were published during his papacy: "Crossing the Threshhold of Hope" in 1994; "Gift and Mystery," an account of his early priesthood, in 1996; "Roman Tryptych -- Meditations," a book of poems, in 2003; "Get Up, Let Us God," which focuses on his years in Krakow, in 2004; and "Memory and Identity" in 2005.
  • Pope John Paul made nine trips to his native Poland as pontiff. The first was in 1979, the last in 2002.
  • Pope John Paul served 26 years as pontiff.
  • During his papacy, Pope John Paul made 104 foreign trips, far more than any other pope. Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) was the previous record-holder with five foreign trips. Before that, Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) was the last pontiff to leave Italy -- and that was because he was sent into exile by Napoleon in 1812.
  • There were 455 years between Pope John Paul II's election in 1979 and the last time a non-Italian served as pope. Adrian VI (1522-23) was born in the Netherlands.
  • Pope John Paul II declared 482 saints during his papacy -- more than the number declared by all the popes in the last 500 years combined.
  • Pope John Paul II beatified 1,338 people during his papacy. Beatification is the last step before sainthood.
  • The Vatican estimates that 17,647,800 people have taken part in John Paul II's weekly general audiences in St. Peter's Square.

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