Timeline: Life and times of Pope John Paul II

Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:23am EST
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(Reuters) - The late Pope John Paul II moved a step closer to sainthood on Friday when his successor Pope Benedict approved the attribution of a miracle to him and announced he will beatified on May 1.

Here is a timeline of the pontificate of John Paul.

Oct 16, 1978 - Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow in Poland elected as first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

June 2-10, 1979 - Returns to his communist-ruled homeland, a trip seen as a factor in the rise of the Solidarity movement.

May 13, 1981 - Shot by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in Rome's St Peter's Square. Surgery saves his life.

April 13, 1986 - First pope since the times of the apostles to visit a synagogue; calls Jews "our beloved elder brothers."

Dec 1, 1989 - President Mikhail Gorbachev invites Pope John Paul to Soviet Union, though he never takes up offer.

April 21, 1990 - Flies to Czechoslovakia to hail collapse of communism with President Vaclav Havel.

Oct 31, 1992 - After 359 years, Pope rehabilitates Galileo, condemned by the Church for saying earth turns around the sun.   Continued...