London, Oct 1: Pope Francis has announced that Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be declared saints next year April 27, BBC reported Monday.
Two living popes are expected to be present at the canonisation ceremony — Francis, who will officiate, and Pope Benedict, who retired earlier this year. The double canonisation will be the first in the Church’s history.
Polish John Paul, the first non-Italian pope for more than 400 years, led the Catholic Church from 1978-2005 while Pope John served as pontiff from 1958-1963, calling the Second Vatican Council that transformed the Church.
In July, Pope Francis said he would canonise his two predecessors, after approving a second miracle attributed to John Paul.
John Paul stood out for his globetrotting and media-friendly style. A fierce critic of communism, he is credited with helping inspire opposition to communist rule in eastern Europe. During his papacy, he simplified the process of making the people saints, and created more of them than all previous popes combined.
Meanwhile, John XXIII is remembered for having introduced the vernacular to replace Latin in church masses and for creating warmer ties between the Catholic Church and the Jewish faith.