Pope John Paul II

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Karol Jozef Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometres from Cracow, on May 18, 1920. He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929.

His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941.

He visited Malta in May 1990 and again in May 2001 for the first-ever Maltese beatification ceremony.

See MaltaMedia's special feature about the Papal Legacy from a Maltese Perspective

He died on 2 April, 2005, at the age of 84.