LAST SEPTEMBER 10, Pope John Paul II earned the distinction of being the 5th longest reigning pontiff in the 2000-year history of the pontificate.

The Pope succeeded in climbing a notch higher when he beat the record of Pope Adrian who reigned during the 8th century. He enjoyed a pontificate of 23 years, 10 months, and 24 days in office.

St. Peter ranked first among the 264 popes in terms of papal longevity having served for 34 to 37 years although historical data are not accurate regarding the dates. The second is Pope Pius IX, who served for 31 years from 1846 to 1878. He was succeeded by Pope Leo XII, who served for 25 years from 1878 to 1903.

If the Pope would remain in good health on March 17, 2004, he would surpass the record of 18th century Pope Pius VI, who served for 24 years and six months. Anna Rachelle S. Ariola, with reports from Catholic World News

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