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Europe

Former popes to be named saints in April ceremony

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-30

Popes John Paul II (pictured) and John XXIII, two of the most influential Catholic figures of the 20th century, will be declared saints on April 27 next year, the Vatican announced on Monday.

The late Catholic popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be made saints of the Church on April 27, the Vatican announced on Monday, in what will be an unprecedented joint ceremony celebrating the two most influential pontiffs of the 20th century.

Pope Francis unveiled the date during a meeting with cardinals in the Vatican, although the twin canonization was first announced in July. At that time Francis approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul II and decided to bend church rules by dispensing John XXIII of a second miracle normally required to reach sainthood.

John Paul II, the polish priest who led the church for 27 years and witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union, was credited with his first miracle just six months after his death. A French nun claimed she was cured of Parkinson’s – a disease John Paul also suffered from – through prayer.

His second miracle reportedly took place in Costa Rica, after a woman was healed from a serious brain condition by praying for the late pope’s intercession on the same day he was beatified in 2011.

John Paul’s would be the fastest canonization in modern times.

Observers of the Vatican said that the historic move to declare two saints on the same date was a bid to unite Catholic conservatives and liberals.

While John Paul has been a hero of more traditional Catholics, progressives within the Church have hailed John for calling the historic Second Vatican Council in 1962, which overhauled rituals and doctrines and reached out to other religions.

The canonisation of the two popes is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome in the spring.

Date created : 2013-09-30

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