Timeline: Pope John Paul II

The following is a list of key dates in the life of Pope John Paul II (born Karol Jozef Wojtyla), 264th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who died today at age 84:

May 18, 1920: Karol Jozef Wojtyla is born in Wadowice, Poland.

1937-1939: Moves to Krakow with his father, also named Karol. Enrolls in the department of philosophy at Jagiellonian University; joins a theater group. When the Nazis invade Poland in September 1939, moves underground.

Nov. 1, 1946: Ordained as a priest.

Sept. 28, 1958: Consecrated as auxiliary bishop of Krakow.

March 8, 1964: Installed as archbishop of Krakow.

June 28, 1967: Consecrated as a cardinal by Pope Paul VI.

1972: Publishes Foundations of Renewal, about his efforts to educate the people of his archdiocese on Vatican II.

Oct. 16, 1978: Elected successor to Pope John Paul I, becoming the 264th pope of the Catholic Church, the first Polish pope ever and the first non-Italian to fill the post in 455 years.

Jan. 25, 1979: Takes first trip abroad, to Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Bahamas.

June 2, 1979: Visits Poland for the first time as pope, setting off sparks that help establish Solidarity, the first independent labor movement in the Soviet bloc.

May 13, 1981: While circling St. Peter's Square, the pope is shot in the abdomen by a young Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca.

Sept. 15, 1982: Meets privately with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat at Vatican, provoking criticism from Israel and Jewish groups.

Sept. 29, 1983: Calls for the heads of government of the United States and the Soviet Union to negotiate an end to the arms race.

April 13, 1986: Makes historic visit to Rome's main synagogue, the oldest Jewish group in the Diaspora.

June 6, 1987: Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

May 27, 1989: Official visit of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

Dec. 1, 1989: Receives Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican in the first ever meeting between a pope and a Kremlin chief.

May 1, 1991: Issues first encyclical on social issues since the fall of communism in Europe, giving qualified approval to capitalism but warning rich against taking advantage of poor.

July 15, 1992: Undergoes surgery for benign tumor on colon. Leaves hospital July 28.

Sept. 4-10, 1993: Visits former Soviet Union for first time, traveling to Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.

Dec. 30, 1993: Agreement signed establishing formal diplomatic ties between Israel and Vatican.

Oct. 20, 1994: Publishes his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

March 25, 1995: Issues encyclical "Gospel of Life," and condemns spreading "culture of death," including abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on human embryos.

Oct. 8, 1996: Undergoes appendectomy. Returns to Vatican Oct. 15.

Nov. 19, 1996: Meets with Cuban President Fidel Castro.

March 10, 1997: Vatican establishes diplomatic relations with Libya, overriding U.S. objections.

Jan. 21-26, 1998: Visits Cuba for the first time.

March 16, 1998: Vatican issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, or Holocaust, expressing remorse for the cowardice of some Christians during World War II but defending the actions of wartime Pope Pius XII.

Oct. 18, 1998: Celebrates 20th anniversary as pope, asking for prayers to fulfill his mission "until the end."

Jan. 26, 1999: Meets U.S. President Bill Clinton in St. Louis, Mo.

March 1, 1999: Gives permission to start the cause of beatification for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Dec. 24, 1999: Ushers in Vatican millennium Jubilee year by opening Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica.

March 20-26, 2000: Makes first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In note left at Jerusalem's Western Wall, expresses sorrow for suffering of Jews at the hands of Christians. Also celebrates first papal Mass ever held in Egypt, urging reconciliation between the Vatican and the Egyptian Coptic Church, which split with Rome in the fifth century A.D.

June 13, 2000: Mehmet Ali Agca, who attempted to assassinate John Paul II in 1981, is granted clemency by Italian President Carlo Ciampi, and extradited to his native Turkey.

Sept. 3, 2000: Beatifies much-attacked Pope Pius IX and much-loved Pope John XXIII in one of the most disputed acts of his papacy.

May 4, 2001: Becomes first pope to visit Greece since Schism; issues sweeping apology for "sins of action and omission" by Roman Catholics against Orthodox Christians.

April 23, 2002: Summons U.S. cardinals to discuss sex abuse scandal; tells them there is "no place in priesthood for those who would harm the young."

May 28, 2002: Receives U.S. President George W. Bush.

Feb.-March 2003: Weeks before U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq, makes a dramatic appeal for world prayer to avert war and sends top cardinals on peace missions to Washington, D.C., and Baghdad.

May 17, 2003: Cardinal, in newspaper interview, confirms pope has Parkinson's disease.

June 5-9, 2003: Makes 100th foreign trip, visiting Croatia.

July 31, 2003: Vatican launches global campaign against gay marriages.

June 4, 2004: U.S. President George W. Bush awards pontiff the Medal of Freedom.

Aug. 15, 2004: Breathes heavily and gasps during open-air Mass at Lourdes, France.

Feb. 1, 2005: Rushed to a hospital in Rome with flu and difficulties breathing.

Feb. 10, 2005: Leaves hospital, returns to the Vatican.

Feb. 24, 2005: Returns to hospital after a relapse of the flu; undergoes a tracheotomy to ease his breathing.

March 13, 2005: Leaves hospital, returns to the Vatican.

March 30, 2005: The pope is connected to a nasal feeding tube.

April 2, 2005: Pope John Paul II dies at 84.

(Sources: Associated Press; U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Holy See Press Office).

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II's official Vatican portrait. The Vatican hide caption

itoggle caption The Vatican

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