Lived: May 18, 1920 – Apr 02, 2005 (age 84)
Height: 5′ 10″
Buried: St. Peter’s Basilica
Education: Jagiellonian University (1953 – 1954) · Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1947 – 1948)
Parents: Karol Wojtyła (Father) · Emilia Kaczorowska (Mother)
Siblings: Edmund Wojtyła (Brother) · Olga Wojtyła (Sister)Highlights
- 1967: In 1967, he was instrumental in formulating the encyclical Humanae vitae, which dealt with the same issues that forbid abortion and artificial birth control.
- 1978: In August 1978, following the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Wojtyła voted in the papal conclave, which elected Pope John Paul I. John Paul I died after only 33 days as pope, triggering another conclave.
- 1979: In 1979 John Paul II visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where many of his compatriots (mostly Jews) had perished during the Nazi occupation in World War II, the first pope to do so.
- 1984: In 1984 and 1986, through Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, John Paul II officially condemned aspects of liberation theology, which had many followers in South America.
- 2000: In 2000, he was the first modern pope to visit Egypt, where he met with the Coptic pope, Pope Shenouda III and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.
- 2005: In April 2005, shortly after John Paul II’s death, the Israeli government created a commission to honour the legacy of John Paul II.
Graffiti showing Pope John Paul II with quote “Do not be afraid” in Rijeka, Croatia
Also on this day,
1797 | Parachuting pioneer as a gutsy Garnerin takes a plunge over Paris
Inspired by his time confined behind the high ramparts of a Hungarian prison, French balloonist André-Jacques Garnerin floats 3,200 feet above Paris, releases the hydrogen balloon from his new invention the parachute, and under a 23-foot wide canopy he descends safely to the ground.1910 | Dr. Crippen convicted as a body buried in the basement leads to conviction
Months after Dr. Crippen’s spouse disappeared, police turn up human remains buried in the basement of his home. Today, after a sensational trial at London’s Old Bailey, it takes the jury only 27 minutes to find Hawley Harvey Crippen guilty of murdering his wife.1964 | French existentialist turns down his Nobel Prize as Sartre wins
Arguably one of the most notable public intellectuals of the 20th century, Jean-Paul Sartre, is this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for work the committee deems ‘filled with the spirit of freedom.’ The French philosopher exercises this same spirit and declines the honor.
Born: Jan 31, 1769 · Paris, France
Died: Aug 18, 1823 · Paris, France
Spouse: Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse
Siblings: Jean-Baptiste-Olivier Garnerin (Brother)
Schematic depiction of Garnerin's first parachute used in the Parc Monceau descent of 22 October 1797. Illustration dates from the early nineteenth century.