When Karol Wojtyla, 47, of Cracow, Poland first donned his red cardinal hat in 1967, TIME called the future pope "a talented theologian."
Here are some highlights from our coverage of the late Pope John Paul II :
The reverberations of Pope John Paul II's life and pontificate, the third longest in history, resounded through every nation on earth.
TIME Special Report: Pope John Paul II,1920-2005
April 3, 2005
Karol Wojtyla. The first Pope from Eastern Europe. The first from Poland, a nation whose fervor for Roman Catholicism has been unsurpassed for a millennium. The first non-Italian elected since 1522 and thus, in a real sense, the first international Pope to lead a global church.
From A "Foreign" Pope
Oct. 30, 1978
The most electric moment came when Poland's Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski knelt to kiss the papal ring. John Paul lifted his stern old mentor to his feet, embraced him, then kissed the Polish primate's own ring."
From John Paul II Charms the Crowds
Nov. 6, 1978
As he led his triumphant seven-day journey of joy through the U.S., Pope John Paul II confirmed what his earlier tours of Mexico and Poland had intimated: after only a year in office, the Pontiff is emerging as the kind of incandescent leader that the world so hungers for.
From It Was "Woo-hoo-woo"
Oct. 15, 1979
The man who shot Pope John Paul II last week carried terrorism into a new territory of outrage. It seemed to much of the world that he had shattered a taboo that even assassins should observe.
From Hand of Terrorism
By George Church, Lance Morrow, Mayo Mohs
May. 25, 1981
Was the Soviet Union, acting through Bulgaria, behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by Turkish Terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca on that sunny May afternoon in 1981?
From The Undiplomatic Bulgarian
By James Kelly
Apr. 4, 1983
John Paul had come as a pastor, offering instruction, strength and solace to his Central American flock of 25 million Roman Catholics.
From "To Share the Pain"
By John Kohan
Mar. 14, 1983
Opus Dei is a highly controversial movement in Catholicism....John Paul's presence at Opus ordinations is only one of many signs of his approval.
From Building God's Global Castle
By Richard N. Ostling
Jun. 11, 1984
Although papal authority has emerged as the overriding issue, there are also important debates about church involvement in contemporary social matters. John Paul has led the way, denouncing economic injustice and insisting on the rights of the downtrodden.
From Discord in the Church
By Richard N. Ostling
Feb. 04, 1985
Pope John Paul II has, among many other things, the world's bully-est pulpit.... When he talks, it is not only to his flock of nearly a billion; he expects the world to listen.
From Empire of the Spirit
By Paul Gray
Dec. 26, 1994
His goal, says his spokesman ... is nothing less than the establishment of a completely Christian alternative to the humanistic philosophies of the 20th century....Thus he writes and thinks as well as discusses and debates -- even through mealtimes.
From Lives of the Pope
By John Elson
Dec. 26, 1994
In his dealings with Cuba, the Pope has always insisted on the same huge outdoor Masses, dramatic rallies, religious pilgrimages to national shrines and high state meetings he has turned to such advantage in country after country, right wing or left.
From Clash Of Faiths
By Johanna Mcgeary
Jan. 26, 1998
John Paul II is by every measurement as cosmopolitan in experience and steeped in erudition as anyone who comes to mind....What does surprise is the near virginal conviction of this sophisticated Pole that Providence has kept a watchful eye on him.
From Time 100: Pope John Paul II
By William F. Buckley Jr.
Apr. 13, 1998
The Pope is not just a religious pilgrim. He is one of the world's great moral authorities.... Moreover, he heads an entity with its own foreign policy goals: from a desire to protect the religious sites and fast-vanishing Christians of the Holy Land, to long-held support of a Palestinian homeland, to the recent rapprochement with Israel--goals that the Pontiff could not alter simply to wow an audience.
From A Pilgrim's Progress
By David Van Biema
Apr. 03, 2000
An actor and playwright in his youth, Pope John Paul II knows that the simplest gesture can move an audience. From a bold wave to his countrymen in communist Poland in 1979 to his quietly slipping a note in Jerusalem's Wailing Wall two decades later, this Pope has always found ways to keep the world watching.
From And in His 82nd Year, John Paul II Rested
By Jeff Israely
Apr. 8, 2002
With the passing years and remarkable courage, the Pope has pointed out the path to reconciliation with other religions, but above all with the oldest, to which Christianity owes so much.
From TIME 100: Pointing the Way To Reconciliation
By Elie Wiesel
Apr. 26, 2004
He died 85 years later in Rome as the most widely beloved and arguably most influential, pope of the past millennium. But exactly when the Catholic Church will officially recognize Pope John Paul II as a saint is a question only the Lord (and Vatican bureaucrats) can answer.
From The Pope's Push for Sainthood
By Jeff Israely
May 27, 2006