Saint Pope John Paul II Holding Cross
Pope John Paul II (born Karol Józef Wojtyła; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was later canonised as Pope Saint John Paul II.
He was elected pope by the second papal conclave of 1978, which was called after John Paul I, who had been elected in August to succeed Pope Paul VI, died after 33 days. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected on the third day of the conclave and adopted the name of his predecessor in tribute to him. Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI in the 16th century and the second-longest-serving pope after Pius IX in modern history.
Upon the death of John Paul II, a number of clergy at the Vatican and laymen began referring to the late pontiff as "John Paul the Great" — in theory only the fourth pope to be so acclaimed. Cardinal Angelo Sodano specifically referred to John Paul as "the Great" in his published written homily for the pope's funeral Mass of Repose. The South African Catholic newspaper The Southern Cross has referred to him in print as "John Paul II the Great". Some Catholic educational institutions in the US have additionally changed their names to incorporate "the Great", including John Paul the Great Catholic University and schools called some variant of John Paul the Great High School.
Scholars of canon law say that there is no official process for declaring a pope "Great"; the title simply establishes itself through popular and continued usage, as was the case with celebrated secular leaders (for example, Alexander III of Macedon became popularly known as Alexander the Great). The three popes who today commonly are known as "Great" are Leo I, who reigned from 440–461 and persuaded Attila the Hun to withdraw from Rome; Gregory I, 590–604, after whom the Gregorian Chant is named; and Pope Nicholas I, 858–867, who consolidated the Catholic Church in the Western world in the Middle Ages.
October 22nd is the Feast Day of Saint Pope John Paul II.
Our St Pope John Paul II holding cross takes our largest holding cross and laser engraves a picture of Saint Pope John Paul II on the bottom of the cross. The cross is 4" by 2" and is made to fit in your hand. Hand crafted out of Bethlehem Olive Wood in the Holy Land, this cross comes with a St. Pope Joh Paul II prayer card and some more information about St. Pope John Paul II feast day.