Friday marks 16th anniversary of death of St. John Paul II

On the 16th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Vatican, Janusz Kotański and his wife laid a wreath at the tomb of the Polish Pope in the Vatican Basilica. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was very modest, only a few people took part in it.

"16 years ago, the greatest Pole in history passed away. We will always long for his goodness, humour, modesty, and at the same time great wisdom. Saint Karol Wojtyła, Holy Father, thank you for everything," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on social media.

Cardinal Karol Wojtyła was elected as the Pope on October 16, 1978, as the 264th head of the Roman-Catholic church. He then took the name of John Paul II. He was the first non-Italian Pope for 455 years and the first originating from a Slavic country.

John Paul II was called the pope-pilgrim. As many as 104 times he travelled to different countries on all inhabited continents.

He died on April 2, 2005 at the age of 84.