Current Date: 22 Feb, 2024



On Sunday in St Peter's Square, there is an expectation to gather thousands of people over the beatification of John Paul I with the precision of Pope Francis. John Paul I is the presumed "Smiling Pope" who led the Catholic Church for only 33 days before he died in contested circumstances.

He is referred to as "The Smiling Pope" because of his simplicity and meekness.

John Paul I was the son of a bricklayer that came from the Dolomite mountains. He had a warm and pastoral figure. He was born on October 17, 1912. On August 26, 1978, he was elected Pope at the age of 65.

On September 28, 1978, just 33 days after his election, he died of a heart attack. This made him the pontiff with the shortest serving in modern church history.

John Paul I was the first pontiff with a double name. He chose the name "John Paul" in honour of John XXIII and Paul VI, who were his two immediate predecessors.

He was also the first pope to attach the regnal number "I", classifying himself "the First".

His death sparked severe speculation as to the reason for his death. People were speculating if the death could be suicide because he seemed to hesitate to take on the position(Pope) or if it were murder done by the powerful Vatican bank, particularly because they opposed the plans he had to reform the church.

Everyone knows he was in "fragile health", but there are still doubts about his death, and no autopsy was carried out to know his cause of death.

In October 2021, the Vatican announced that it recognised a miracle connected to John Paul I, which therefore allowed him to become beautified. Beatification is the process when a person becomes "blessed". It is the step before becoming a saint.

The Catholic Church rules is that there must be a second miracle recognised in most cases before someone can become a saint.

The miracle was recorded in 2011 to be the sudden healing of a severely ill girl who is 11-year old in Buenos Aires after the prayer of a local priest to the late pontiff.

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

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