From 1978 to his death in 2005, Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City State. He was chosen Pope by the second papal conclave of 1978, which was summoned after John Paul I, who had been elected to succeed Pope Paul VI in August, died after just 33 days. Cardinal Wojtya was chosen on the third day of the conclave and took his predecessor's name as a respect to him. John Paul II, who was born in Poland, was the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI in the 16th century and the second-longest-serving pope in modern history after Pius IX.

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