2Karol Wojtyla, seen here at age 12, was born on May 18, 1920, in the small southern Polish town of Wadowice, near Krakow. His father is a non-commissioned officer in the Polish army and his mother dies when he is eight years old.
3With talk of war in the air, Karol Wojtyla, second from right, works with unidentified colleagues to build a military camp in western Ukraine that summer After the Nazi invasion, Wojtyla decides to become a priest but the Nazis had closed the seminaries so he studies secretly at the residence of the Krakow cardinal, working in a quarry by day. Wojtyla is ordained at the age of 26 and goes to Rome for advanced studies. In 1948, Wojtyla returns to Poland to find his country in the grip of Stalinism.
4The late Pope Paul VI places the cardinal's hat on the head of Karol Wojtyla, declaring him a cardinal in He is promoted to archbishop of Krakow.
5Karol Wojtyja, now newly-elected Pope John Paul II, acknowledges cheers from pilgrims crowding Saint Peter's Square in his first appearance as pope on Oct. 16. He is the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, the 264th successor of St Peter and, at 58, the youngest pope for more than a century.
6The hand of Mehmed Ali Agca, holding a pistol, left, aims from the crowd at Pope John Paul in St. Peter's Square on May 13. Moments later the pontiff is shot and seriously wounded.
7Pope John Paul II talks to his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in his prison cell in Rome in Dec. 27. Agca is serving a life sentence for shooting the pontiff. The pope says the teachings of Christ instructed him to forgive Agca.
8Pope John Paul II welcomes Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to the first-ever meeting between a Kremlin chief and a pope at the Vatican Dec. 1. After the visit, the pope steps up the re-establishment of the Catholic Church throughout the East bloc, a move that parallels the crumbling of communist regimes across the region.
9Pope John Paul II prays during Mass at Camden Yards in Baltimore on Oct. 8. During his papacy, the pope travels the equivalent of 30 times the circumference of the earth, making more than 100 foreign trips and spending more than three years away from the Vatican.
10Pope John Paul II, riding in the Popemobile, passes a painting of revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara during a landmark visit to Cuba. He mixes criticism of communism with criticism of the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Cuban leader Fidel Castro says during the trip that he believes in God. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease begin to appear and the pontiff appears increasingly frail, but maintains a rigorous travel schedule. The popes left hand trembles and his facial muscles appear stiff during appearances. In later years, he becomes unable to walk and is carried in a special transporter from planes to his Popemobile.
11Pope John Paul II is seen near the bronze Holy Door of St Pope John Paul II is seen near the bronze Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Christmas Eve. Faltering at times, the frail pontiff walks through the door in a symbolic ceremony to mark the start of the church's third millennium. In an unprecedented public act of repentance, the pope delivers the most sweeping papal apology ever, repenting for the errors of the Roman Catholic Church over the previous 2,000 years.
12Pope John Paul rests his hand on the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 26. The trip is the culmination of one of the pontiff's lifetime ambitions and follows a historic, and sometimes tumultuous, dialogue with Jews. The pope visits the Rome Synagogue in the first visit ever by a pontiff to a Jewish house of worship. The pope grants an audience to Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, angering Jews who accused Waldheim of Nazi war crimes. The Vatican and Israel forge full diplomatic ties, aimed at ending 2,000 years of distrust and hostility between Christians and Jews. The Vatican apologizes for Catholics who failed to help Jews persecuted by the Nazis.
13After a series of sex scandals involving priests and minors rocks the church in the United States, the pope summons a dozen American cardinals and two high-ranking bishops to the Vatican on April 23. Over two days the Americans, joined by the heads of the eight most senior Vatican departments, attempt to hammer out a process for defrocking any priest involved in the "predatory sexual abuse of minors."
14Pope John Paul II waves to an estimated 2 Pope John Paul II waves to an estimated 2.7 million people during a Mass in Krakow's Blonie meadow on Aug. 18. The pontiff uses his ninth trip home, which many feared would be his last, to address the plight of the poor and jobless in Poland as well as discuss his own mortality.
15Pope John Paul II waves to the crowd during a visit to his Polish homeland in In his 28 years as pope, he has nominated 483 saints, held more than 1,100 general audiences at the Vatican, issued 14 encyclicals on moral, religious and social issues, and traveled the world. Click for images, along with a timeline of the notable events in his life, before and during the papacy.
16A man prays during Mass at the basilica of Poland's famous Black Madonna of Cestochowa on Friday.
17People gather to read prayers in St People gather to read prayers in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on Friday. Tourists and pilgrims began arriving at St. Peter's late Thursday as word spread of the 84-year-old pontiff's worsening health.
18A woman holds her rosary while praying at St A woman holds her rosary while praying at St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto on Friday.
19Thousands of people gather in St Thousands of people gather in St. Peter's Square for a prayer at the Vatican on Friday as news of Pope John Paul II's fading health spreads.
20A nun sits inside the Grotto, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday.
21An Iraqi Christian prays for Pope John Paul II at a Baghdad church on Friday.
22Nuns from the Missionaries of Charity pray for the quick recovery of Pope John Paul in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta on Friday.
23A nun from the Missionaries of Charity writes a wish for a quick recovery for Pope John Paul II on an announcement board in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta on Friday.
24A South Korean woman prays during Mass at Myeong Dong Cathedral in Seoul on Friday.
25Cardinal Edward Egan celebrates Mass with a special prayer for Pope John Paul ll at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on Friday.
26A woman prays in front of a photograph of Pope John Paul II inside the Saint Goedele Cathedral in Brussels on Friday.
27Special prayers were said for the pope in London's Westminster Cathedral on Friday.
28An Indian woman prays for the life of Pope John Paul II during Mass at a church in Bangalore, India.
29Poles pray for the recovery of their native son, Pope John Paul II, at the Sanctuary of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa on Friday.
30A woman prays for Pope John Paul II at St A woman prays for Pope John Paul II at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on Friday.
31A woman on a pilgrimage from South Wales lights a candle for the pope in the Chapel of the Holy Ghost at the National Catholic Shrine at Walsingham, Norfolk, England, on Friday.
32R.I.P. Born in Wadowice, Poland, on May 18, 1920. VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II, who helped topple communism in Europe and left a deeply conservative stamp on the church that he led for 26 years, died Saturday night in his Vatican apartment, ending a long public struggle against debilitating illness. He was 84."We all feel like orphans this evening," Undersecretary of State Archbishop Leonardo Sandri told the crowd of 70,000 that gathered in St. Peter's Square below the pope's still-lighted apartment windows.A Mass was scheduled for St. Peter's Square for 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. EDT) Sunday. The pope's body was expected to be taken to St. Peter's Basilica no earlier than Monday afternoon, the Vatican said.