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Pope John Paul II Timeline

By The Associated Press -- Oct. 16, 1978 -- Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow is elected pope and takes the name John Paul II. He is the first Pole to be elected pope and the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years.

Jan. 25, 1979 -- The new pontiff makes his first trip abroad, visiting the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the Bahamas.

June 2-10, 1979 -- The strongly anti-communist pope receives a hero's welcome in his native Poland. Many credit this trip -- which draws crowds of more than a million people -- with emboldening Poles to oppose their government; the Solidarity labor movement is founded the following year.

June 7, 1979 -- The pope says Mass at the site of the Birkenau concentration camp, the largest of 36 camps in a complex known collectively as Auschwitz.

Sept. 29 - Oct. 8, 1979 -- John Paul II visits the United States for the first time as pope and addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

May 13, 1981 -- Pope John Paul II is shot in the abdomen and hand in St. Peter's Square and seriously wounded. Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk, is arrested. The pope spends 22 days in a hospital.

May 12, 1982 -- A Spanish priest lunges at the pope with a bayonet during the first day of a papal trip to Fatima, Portugal. John Paul is unhurt.

May 13, 1982 -- The pope continues his visit to Fatima, a small town where believers say three children saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1917. John Paul's visit comes on the anniversary of both the first attempt on his life and the first of the Fatima visions. The pope has credited the Virgin Mary with sparing his life in the 1981 shooting.

May 28 -- June 2, 1982 -- The popemobile, a bulletproof enclosed car, debuts on John Paul's trip to Great Britain.

Sept. 15, 1982 -- The pope holds the first of many meetings with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, angering many Jews.

Dec. 27, 1983 -- The pope meets with and forgives his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison in Rome.

Jan. 10, 1984 -- The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.

April 13, 1986 -- John Paul II prays at Rome's main synagogue, the first ever recorded visit of a pope to a synagogue.

June 25, 1987 -- Jews are angered when the pope receives Austrian President Kurt Waldheim at the Vatican. Waldheim served in a German army unit in the Balkans during World War II that was involved in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews and the mass killings of civilians. Waldheim has denied any wrongdoing.

Dec. 1, 1989 -- Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev meets with the pope at the Vatican and promises to allow religious freedom.

Jan. 15, 1991 -- John Paul II writes letters to President Bush and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in an attempt to avert the Gulf War.

April 13, 1991 -- The pope appoints Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz the first Roman Catholic bishop of Moscow in six decades. The pope has long wanted to visit Russia, but opposition from the Russian Orthodox Church has kept him away.

June 1, 1991 -- The pontiff makes his first trip to Poland since the country threw off its communist shackles. He visits his native country again in August.

July 15, 1992 -- The pope has surgery to remove a benign intestinal tumor and spends 11 days in the hospital.

Aug. 15, 1993 -- John Paul II attends World Youth Day in Denver.

Nov. 11, 1993 -- The pope dislocates his shoulder in a fall and spends a day in the hospital.

Dec. 30, 1993 -- Israel and the Vatican sign an agreement to establish diplomatic relations.

April 29, 1994 -- The pope breaks his right leg in a fall and undergoes hip replacement surgery. He is released from the hospital on May 27.

May 30, 1994 -- John Paul II reaffirms the church's opposition to female priests in a letter to bishops, writing that the church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faithful."

Oct. 20, 1994 -- An autobiographical book by the pope, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," is published.

March 25, 1995 -- The pope issues his strongest denunciation yet of abortion, decrying what he calls a "culture of death" that he says includes euthanasia. The statement comes in the 11th encyclical -- a special letter reserved for matters of extreme importance to the church -- of John Paul's papacy.

June 27-30, 1995 -- John Paul II hosts a four-day meeting with the leader of the Orthodox church, Ecumenical Patirarch Bartholomew I, as part of the pope's efforts to unite the faiths.

Oct. 8, 1996 -- The pope undergoes an appendectomy.

Nov. 15, 1996 -- Another autobiographical work, "Gift and Mystery," is published.

Jan. 21-26, 1998 -- The pope travels to Cuba and meets with Fidel Castro.

Feb. 24-26, 2000 -- The pontiff visits Mount Sinai in Egypt, revered as the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

March 20-26, 2000 -- John Paul II travels to the Holy Land, saying Mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem and visiting Israel's Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. He also prays at the Western Wall, where he places a written note asking God's forgiveness for Christian persecution of Jews.

May 13, 2000 -- On his third trip to Fatima, Portugal, the pope beatifies two of the shepherd children who reported seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. Also, the Vatican reveals that the so-called third secret of Fatima foretold the 1981 attempt on John Paul II's life.

Aug. 16-19, 2002 -- John Paul II makes his ninth trip to Poland, a visit to the Krakow area where he lived as a young man and served as archbishop.

March 2003 -- "Roman Triptych," John Paul II's first book of poetry since becoming pope, is published. It is a three-part meditation on nature, life, and death -- including his own.

May 17, 2003 -- A top Vatican official publicly acknowledges for the first time what observers have suspected for a decade -- that John Paul II suffers from Parkinson's disease. The pope had long showed signs of Parkingson's, including slurred speech and trembling.

May 18, 2004 -- "Get Up, Let Us God," a book in which the pontiff recalls his years in Karakow as bishop and archbishop, is published on John Paul's 84th birthday.

Aug. 15, 2004 -- The pope breathes heavily and gasps during an open-air Mass in Lourdes, France, during one of just two foreign trips during the year.

Feb. 1, 2005 -- John Paul II is rushed to a Rome hospital with breathing trouble. He is released nine days later.

Feb. 22, 2005 -- A new book by the pope, "Memory and Identity," is published. In it, John Paul describes for the first time the moments after he was shot in 1981, saying he was "almost on the other side," but that he believed he would survive.

Feb. 24, 2005 -- The pontiff undergoes surgery to insert a tube in his throat to aid respiration. He remains hospitalized until March 13.

March 30, 2005 -- The Vatican says the pope is getting nutrition from a feeding tube inserted through the nose. He is seen in public for the last time, in the window of his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square. He struggles to speak, but is unable.

March 31, 2005 -- The Vatican announces that John Paul II has a high fever as a result of a urinary tract infection. He later suffers septic shock, meaning that bacteria had spread from his urinary tract to his blood, poisoning his blood stream and causing his blood vessels to collapse. The pope receives the sacrament for the sick and dying, formerly known as the last rites.

April 1, 2005 -- The pope suffers heart and kidney failure. "He's aware he's passing to the Lord," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, is reported to say.

April 2, 2005 -- Pope John Paul II dies at 9:37 p.m. of septic shock and cardio-circulatory collapse. He was 84.

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