(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.
Dec 7, 1992 - Issues the Roman Catholic Church’s new universal Catechism — the first in nearly five centuries.
Dec 28, 1993 - Vatican and Israel forge full diplomatic ties after 2,000 years of Christian-Jewish hostility.
Oct 31, 1997 - Says Christians failed during the Holocaust.
March 13, 2000 - Asks pardon for the Church’s sins against Jews, heretics, women and minorities.
March 20-26, 2000 - Visits Holy Land, calls for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
May 8, 2001 - In Syria, becomes first pope to enter mosque.
Nov 22, 2001 - Makes apology for sexual abuse by priests.
August 2002 - Makes last poignant visit to Polish homeland.
Jan-March 2003 - Campaigns to avert U.S. invasion of Iraq.
April 2, 2005 - Dies.
April 8, 2005 - Funeral is global media event.
May 2005 - Successor Pope Benedict XVI eases timing rules, putting John Paul on fast-track to sainthood.
June 2005 - Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, a French nun, prays to late pope and says it cures her of Parkinson’s disease.
Jan 14, 2011 - Benedict declares Normand case a miracle and sets John Paul’s beatification for May 1. A further miracle after that date is needed for canonization, which would make him a saint.
Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;