Vatican City, April 27
Popes John XXIII and John Paul II were canonised by Pope Francis Sunday in the Vatican City, the country’s official news network News.VA said.
For the first time in history, two popes have been elevated to the level of sainthood at the same time.
Pope Francis read the formal proclamation at the canonisation mass in Latin.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Francis’ predecessor who abdicated on grounds of ill health, was also present at the canonisation mass.
Pope Francis termed the two saints as “men of courage” and placed relics, a container of blood from John Paul and a piece of skin from John near the altar.
The Vatican confirmed the sainthood on the two former popes Sunday in front of some 800,000 pilgrims who packed the St.Peter’s Square during the two-hour ceremony.
The mass was attended by a hundred foreign delegates comprising of heads of state, government and royal dignitaries along with members of the Christian church.
Notable guests included Floribeth Mora, who claims John Paul II cured her of a serious brain condition.
Of Polish origin, Saint John Paul II served from October 16, 1978, until his death in 2005, was the second longest serving pope in history and also the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523.
He has been deemed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century as he is recognised for his efforts to end the Communist rule in Poland and eventually all of Europe.
He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate, including Goa Feb 6, 1986.
He has been attributed for two miracles including healing a French nun of Parkinson’s Disease.
He also supported the end the Apartheid in South Africa, pushing for the European Constitution draft, opposed the Iraq War and the Gulf War, and fought for homosexual rights.
Saint John XXIII, an Italian, served from October 28, 1958, to his death in 1963 and was the first pope to take the pontifical name of “John” upon election in more than 500 years.
He is famous for his efforts during the Holocaust in World War II to save Jewish people and the refugees from the Nazis.
He also became the first pope since 1870 to make pastoral visits in his Diocese of Rome, when he visited children infected with polio, a reformatory school for juvenile delinquents.
He also fought for human rights and opposed the idea of a divorce.
In 1962, he was named “Man of the Year” by Time magazine, the first ever pope to be so named.
Saint John XXIII is said to have had achieved apocalyptic visions of the future and also claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary.