Pope John Paul II: An Oral History
By Marése O’Sullivan
With the canonisation of Pope John Paul II this week in the Vatican, we take a look back at video archive footage telling the oral history of his life and, below, a fact file.
Fact File of Pope John Paul II:
- 1920: Born Karol Józef Wojtyła in Wadowice, Poland, to an army officer and schoolteacher
- 1938: Began his studies at Jagiellonian University in Kraków – he read philology and languages
- 1941: Left as the only remaining member of his family after his father died of a heart attack. Mother, older sister and older brother had already passed away too
- 1942: Joined an underground seminary led by the Archbishop of Kraków
- 1944: Recovered from being hit by a truck and escaped capture from the Gestapo – for him, this confirmed his religious vocation
- 1946: Ordained a priest and went to study in Rome
- 1954: Received a doctorate in Sacred Theology
- 1958: Became Auxiliary Bishop of Kraków and later (1964) Archbishop
- 1967: Appointed to the Sacred College of Cardinals
- August 1978: Voted in conclave to elect John Paul I, who died 33 days later
- October 1978: Chosen to be the new Pope, the first non-Italian in almost 500 years: “With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.”
- 1981: Survived first of two assassination attempts. The next one would be just a year later
- 2001: Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease
- 2005: Died aged 84
- 2011: Beatified by his successor Pope Benedict XVI
- 2014: Canonised by Pope Francis. Pope John Paul II is one of the only people in history to become a saint so quickly
Ancient tradition celebrated in modern London
By Faisal Hanif
The Jacobsons from Stoke Newington, London, marked the Jewish festival of Hannukah with a ceremony performing rituals that are thousands of years old.
Abraham Jacobson explains the history behind the occasion and the significance for his family.