Timeline: Life and times of Pope John Paul II
(Reuters) - The Vatican is preparing to elevate the late pontiff, John Paul II, one step closer to sainthood on Sunday in a ceremony of beatification.
Here is a timeline of the pontificate of John Paul.
October 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 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."
December 1, 1989 - Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visits the Vatican and invites Pope John Paul to make a trip to the Soviet Union, an offer the pope was never able to take up because of resistance by the powerful Russian Orthodox Church.
April 21, 1990 - Flies to Czechoslovakia to hail collapse of communism with President Vaclav Havel.
October 31, 1992 - After 359 years, Pope rehabilitates Galileo, condemned by the Church for saying earth turns around the sun. Continued...