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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 April 2005, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Reporters' log: Pope dies

A single rose in front of the Vatican
Millions are remembering Pope John Paul II

The Vatican has announced the death of Pope John Paul II.

His death brings to an end one of the longest papal reigns in history.

BBC correspondents report on reaction from across the globe.


Saturday 2 April

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">James Reynolds : Jerusalem : 2355GMT

Jerusalem has been quiet in the hours following the Pope's death. Rain is falling onto the empty alleyways of the old city. In the dark, handfuls of pilgrims have been making their way towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Christianity's holiest site.

The church door is being guarded by a young Israeli policewoman sitting on a bench. Inside, small numbers of worshippers have been lighting candles.

Vatican flags flying in this city have also been lowered and later in the day, the Latin patriarch, Michel Sabbah, will hold a mass in memory of the Pope in the Basilica of the Annunciation in the town of Nazareth.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Peter Gould : Vatican, Rome : 2330GMT

The service has ended and the crowd has been told to go home, but many cannot bring themselves to leave St Peter's Square.

People are standing in groups, comforting one another. Some have their eyes closed in silent prayer. It was the suddenness of the announcement, in the middle of the service, that seemed to catch them off guard.

I stood at this spot on a night in 1978 when the unknown Karol Wojtyla became John Paul II. There was excitement at what this might mean for the Church.

Tonight there is sadness that a remarkable papacy has finally come to an end. But many of the people here are taking comfort in the thought that their Pope, who gave his life to the Church, is no longer suffering.

I see from a calculator in my computer that the life of Karol Wojtyla spanned exactly 31,000 days. His papacy, the third longest, lasted 9,665 days.

Extraordinary numbers for an extraordinary man.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">David Willey : Vatican, Rome : 2255GMT

The Pope's funeral will be one of the biggest ever gatherings of world leaders.

John Paul II, the first ever Slav Pope, will be remembered as a record breaker. He was the most travelled Pope in history, the first to visit a synagogue, a mosque, and even a football match.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Adam Brookes : Washington : 2235GMT

George W Bush called Pope John Paul II a "hero for the ages". That's a sign of the historic significance the papacy of John Paul has been accorded in the minds of many of America's leaders.

Mr Bush also noted that the Pope had urged Catholics to build a culture of life. That of course, is a reflection of the Pontiff's opposition to abortion and contraception. Many of these views are shared across the conservative spectrum in the US, uniting Catholics and Protestants.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Lesley Ashmal : Vatican, Rome : 2140GMT

There are so many people here in St Peter's Square who are not of the Catholic faith at all.

St Peter's Square is still very, very quiet. As soon at the Mass was over, as soon as the bells stopped tolling and as soon as the Cardinal told people they could go home or wait and join a second mass that's going to be held at midnight our time.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Valerie Jones : Westminster Cathedral, London : 2140GMT

Shortly after the news was known here at Westminster Cathedral, a single bell started to toll and the Pope's flag was raised to half-mast. There was still around forty people in the Cathedral who had come to pray. Some left in tears, others said the news was sad.

The Archbishop, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, gave a brief statement outside the front door of the cathedral.

"I feel very moved tonight at hearing the news of the death of Pope John Paul II. He was one of the greatest leaders of our modern world. He was an extraordinary man. One of the greatest Popes in the church's two thousand year history.

"We will remember him for his witness to hope and to the dignity of human life."

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Ray Furlong : Krakow, Poland : 2110GMT

I am standing in the Archbishop's Palace here in Krakow where the Pope spent 15 years as the Archbishop. Thousands of people are here with candles.

There is now silence, absolute silence. They had been praying and singing hymns and just hoping against hope that he would pull through.

Even though people did expect it, when the news came through there was a sense of shock. We were walking around the old town when a carefree Saturday night atmosphere suddenly changed. Church bells started ringing and people started streaming out into the streets.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Anna Borzello : Lagos, Nigeria : 2125GMT

Pope John Paul II has twice visited Nigeria and many Catholics here felt he had a special place in his heart for Africa. Worshippers have spoken of the Pope as a man who cared for the underdog and fought for the issues that mattered.

About 15 million Catholics live in Nigeria and over the last few days many churches held special masses for the Pope.

We will miss him the Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekon, told the BBC but we also have a sense of gratitude to God for a life well spent.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Dominic Bailey : Krakow, Poland : 2050GMT

We were in Mariacki church in the main square in Krakow when the news came through of the Pope's death. Suddenly a deep bell tolled from outside, and a look of slow realisation across people's faces made it clear they realised that the time had come.

Text messages on mobile phones confirmed the news, and people who had been praying all day held their faces as they wept.

It's been a busy day in Krakow, but people have now started to head towards the town's churches, and any other spot associated with Pope John Paul II.

CPS:CROSSHEAD STYLE="cross1">Peter Gould : St Peter's Square, Rome : 2030GMT

A crowd of about 50,000 people heard the announcement of the Pope's death during an open-air service in St Peter's Square. Although the news was not unexpected, the sudden announcement seemed to shock people.

Mourners in St Peter's Square
Mourners are gathered in St Peter's Square

There was prolonged applause from the crowd as a mark of respect for the Pope. Then the crowd went silent for several minutes as they took in the news. Many of them were in tears.

Hardly anybody made a move to leave. Eyes gazed upwards at the windows of the Pope's apartment, the focus of attention all day.

Earlier there had been singing, with people chanting the name of the Pope. After the subdued atmosphere here yesterday the crowd had appeared more upbeat today.

Then came the news that many had been dreading.

One of the clerics leading the service tonight told the crowd "we are all orphans tonight, but faith teaches us that those who die with the Lord live with the Lord".






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