BBC Home
Explore the BBC


The Pope

Last Updated: Wednesday February 02 2005 11:09 GMT

Who was Pope John Paul II?

Pope John Paul II

In 1978 Karol Wojtyla from Poland took over as head of the Catholic Church. He was Pope for 26 years until his death in April 2005.

He became known as Pope John Paul II (when you get made Pope you have to choose a new name).

John Paul II was 58 when he got the job, which is actually very young to be Pope.

He visited more than 100 countries and if you added together all his journeys it was equal to going round the globe 27 times.

As Pope he always made a big effort to get out and meet his followers. Some people felt he was too slow at changing the way the Church dealt with issues like divorce.

Guide to The Pope