PILGRIMAGE TO THE EAST

THE POPE GAVE 30 TALKS DURING A 33,000-KM TOUR, DISPLAYING AN ACTOR'S SENSE OF IMPROVISATION

For years, journalists who cover Pope John Paul II have referred to him privately as ``the old man.'' Last week, in the midst of his 11-day tour of Asia and the Pacific, the 74-year-old Pontiff accepted that description--if a bit reluctantly. In Manila for World Youth Day, he replied to youngsters who were shouting, ``Lolek! Lolek!,'' his nickname as a boy. ``Lolek was a child,'' he told them. ``John Paul is an old man.''

Old and slightly stooped, in fact, but strong enough to give 30 talks during a 33,000-km tour that touched the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Sri...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!