Portal:Poland/Selected biography/11

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Pope John Paul II
John Paul II (1920–2005) served as pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City from 1978 until his death almost 27 years later. Born Karol Wojtyła in the Polish town of Wadowice, he served as archbishop of Kraków before becoming one of the longest-serving popes and one of the most-travelled world leaders in history. Continuing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and professing the philosophy of Christian humanism, John Paul II taught about the importance of family and respect for human life and dignity. He criticised materialist ideologies and is widely seen as having been instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually in all of Eastern Europe. The pope also mended the Catholic Church's relations with other denominations and religions. As part of his emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified or canonized a record number of people, and was himself canonized in 2014.
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