Timeline: Key dates in the life of Pope John Paul II

Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:06am EDT
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005 after a pontificate of nearly 27 years, will be elevated to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday by Pope Francis. Here are some major events in his life.

- May 18, 1920: Born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, in Wadowice, Poland, second son of retired Polish army sergeant and mother of Lithuanian origin.

- 1942: After losing all members of his immediate family, he decides to become a priest and studies secretly for ordination during Nazi occupation.

- Nov 1, 1946: Ordained in Krakow. Later completes studies in Rome, returns to Poland.

- Sept 28, 1958: Consecrated assistant Bishop of Krakow.

- Jan 13, 1964: Named Archbishop of Krakow.

- June 26, 1967: Created cardinal by Pope Paul VI.

- Oct 16, 1978: Elected first non-Italian Pope in 455 years.

- June 2-10, 1979: Returns to communist-ruled homeland, trip seen as factor in rise of Solidarity movement and fall of communism in the East Bloc 10 years later.   Continued...

A John Paul II picture with Polish flag is seen in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, April 26, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi