John Paul II, reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was the second-longest serving Pope in history and the first non-Italian since 1523.
John Paul II was acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He was instrumental in ending communism 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. Though criticised by progressives for upholding the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, and by traditionalists for his support of the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, he was also widely praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances.