Pope John Paul II, born
Karol Józef Wojtyła
reigned as the 264th
and Sovereign of the
State of the Vatican City
until his death more than 26 years later, making his the
in modern times after
's 31-year reign. He is the only
pope, and was the first non-Italian
pope since the Dutch
in the 1520s. He is one of only four people to
have been named to the
for both the
and for a year in the 21st.
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.
In the later part of his pontificate, he was notable for
capitalism, and what he deemed the "culture
John Paul II became known as the "Pilgrim Pope" for traveling
greater distances than had all his predecessors combined.
According to John Paul II, the trips symbolized bridge-building
efforts (in keeping with his title as
Pontifex Maximus, literally Master Bridge-Builder) between
nations and religions, attempting to remove divisions created
Not intended as a toy for ages 13 and under.