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1978 - Pope John Paul II

1978 Pope John Paul II_min.JPG

Title: 1978 - Pope John Paul II

About: The Polish archbishop Karol Wojtyla is elected as the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years.


Although Wojtyla had been involved in the church his whole life, it was not until 1942 that he began seminary training. When the Second World War ended, he returned to the Jagiellonian university to study theology, becoming an ordained priest in 1946.


He rose through the ranks of the Catholic church, becoming Archbishop of Krakow, and  was made a cardinal in 1967, taking on the challenges of living and working as a Catholic priest in communist Eastern Europe. 

He was quietly and slowly building a reputation as a powerful preacher and a man of both great intellect and charisma. Still, when Pope John Paul I died in 1978 after only a 34-day reign, few suspected Wojtyla would be chosen to replace him.


However, after seven rounds of balloting, the Sacred College of Cardinals chose the 58-year-old, and he became the first-ever Slavic pope and the youngest to be chosen in 132 years.

A conservative pontiff, John Paul II’s papacy was marked by his firm and unwavering opposition to communism and war, as well as abortion, contraception, capital punishment, and homosexual sex. He later came out against euthanasia, human cloning, and stem cell research.


He traveled widely as pope, using the eight languages he spoke and his well-known personal charm, to connect with the Catholic faithful, as well as many outside the fold.

Decade: 1970s

Year: 1978

Region: Europe

Country: Vatican City

Society: Religion

Politics: Leadership

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 3

Artist: Stefan Milosavljevic


Group: Genesis

Number: 78/100

Price: 0.3 ETH


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