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The world's youngest generation remembers Pope John Paul II as a kindly, frail man who blessed the nations from his balcony. But those who were around to see him elected 27 years ago saw a dynamic archbishop from Poland change the world. The pontiff died at the age of 84.

Born Karol Wotyla in 1920 near the city of Krakow, he was the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years, the first ever from Poland. And from the moment he took office, he became a powerful symbol of faith and freedom for his homeland, which was caught in the grip of communism.

Both as archbishop and as pope, his courage and his faith in the power of prayer sparked the solidarity movement that helped bring down the iron curtain.

The pope had a quiet ally in U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who also saw the evil of communism. And, like Reagan, the pope survived a 1981 assassination attempt.

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Watch the funeral of Pope John Paul II

CBN News: Hundreds of Thousands Mourn Pope’s Passing

AP: Pope John Paul II is Laid to Rest

Pope John Paul II Official Vatican Web Site


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Pope John Paul II  

Pat Robertson Comments on Pope John Paul II's Passing

"I told him at the time how much the American people loved him, and he merely smiled. That love was shared not only in America but by millions all over the globe."

Pope John Paul II  

'Be Not Afraid', by Deacon Keith Fournier

The words were just announced to a waiting world “Pope John Paul II has died.” The heart of that world has broken. The tears of the faithful will fill rivers. We will pray, and reflect on the life and example of this incredible gift, Pope John Paul II, for centuries to come. We had in our midst, John Paul the Great.

Billy Graham  

Billy Graham: Pope John Paul II Was 'Most Influential Voice' in 100 Years

Dr. Graham told Larry King he had the privilege of seeing the Pope on several occasions at the Vatican. "And tonight, I have a very strange feeling of loss. I almost feel as though one of my family members has gone. I loved him very much and had the opportunity of discussing so many things with him. And we wrote each other several times during the years."

Pope John Paul II  

The Legacy of Pope John Paul II

During his papacy, Pope John Paul II has taken a conservative stance on social issues and on Church doctrine. He has played a large role on the international stage, and he has worked to improve relations with other faiths. Here is a look at important themes of his papacy.

People Mourn Pope John Paul II  

Millions across Globe Mourn John Paul II

Church bells tolled around the world Friday, as millions of people gathered in open fields, sports stadiums, town squares and cathedrals to watch the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Sirens wailed in his homeland of Poland, where 800,000 people gathered in Krakow.



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