Pope St. John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He became the second longest-serving pope in modern history, serving from 1978 to 2005. (The longest-serving pope after St. Peter was Pope Pius IX).
One of the most traveled popes in history and the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years, Pope St. John Paul II was a vocal advocate for human rights, is recognized as having helped end Communist rule in Poland and eventually all of Europe, and improved Catholic relations with other Christians and those of other faiths.
Today, many call him Pope St. John Paul the Great, although that title is not yet official. The Holy Father was canonized on April 27, 2014.