Pope John Paul II
Years: 1920 - 2005
He was Pope from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in history and, as a Pole, the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523. John Paul II was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. ohn Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Controversially, he upheld the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, he supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, and he held firm orthodox Catholic stances. On 23–27 June 2001 John Paul II visited Ukraine, another heavily Orthodox nation, at the invitation of the President of Ukraine and bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Pope spoke to leaders of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations, pleading for "open, tolerant and honest dialogue". About 200 thousand people attended the liturgies celebrated by the Pope in Kiev, and the liturgy in Lviv gathered nearly one and a half million faithful. John Paul II stated that an end to the Great Schism was one of his fondest wishes. Healing divisions between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches regarding Latin and Byzantine traditions was clearly of great personal interest. For many years, John Paul II sought to facilitate dialogue and unity stating as early as 1988 in Euntes in mundum that "Europe has two lungs; it will never breathe easily until it uses both of them".
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