The Venerable Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Pawe? II) 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005, born Karol Józef Wojty?a) reigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. His was the second-longest documented pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer (St. Peter the Apostle is reputed to have served for more than thirty years as the first pontiff, but documentation is too sparse to definitively support this). He has been the only Slavic and Polish Pope to date, and was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in 1522. John Paul II has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending Communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe as well as significantly improving the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Though criticised for his opposition to contraception and the ordination of women, as well as his support for the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, he has also been praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances in these areas. He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He spoke the following languages: Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian, Croatian, Esperanto, Ancient Greek and Latin as well as his native Polish. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints,more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed “Venerable” by his papal successor Pope Benedict XVI.