Venerable Pope John Paul II Holding Crucifix Figurine Pontiff Saint The Great Statue Light Of Christ In Vivid ColorsCategory: Crucifix LightPope Saint John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus II), born Karol Józef Wojtyla (Polish: [ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛf vɔjˈtɨwa]; 18 May 1920 - 2 April 2005), also known as Saint John Paul the Great, was pope of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878. Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI who served from 1522 to 1523. John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He upheld the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, supported the Church'sSecond Vatican Council and its reform, and in general held firm to orthodox Catholic stances.