Sunday, April 30, 2006

Robin of Sherwood

I really wanted to add my next entry about India but I decided to put some pictures of "Robin of Sherwood" movie. The movie was broadcasted when I and my companions where about 10 years old. Look - everyone could shoot there. They had beautiful arches and lived in forest.
Just like me and friends from the same street. We were building our arches and arrows and were shooting into the air in nearby forest. Oh what a beatiful movie - india has to wait bit longer, I am afraid:( And here are some pictures:)

1. Beautiful Robin Hood number 1.

2. Beautiful Marion

3. Happy couple.




7. Happy team




11. Fair haired Robin :(

12. Marion and her two boyfriends

13. Who was bad in this movie?

14. Another "bad" guy

Well... in Poland we have similar character to Robin Hood. It is Janosik who was robbing in Pieniny mountains. But he is much...yonger than Robin Hood. Polish Janosik lived in XIX century. And was killed - hanged of course:(
Ok - next time I will write you more either about India or about Janosik from Pieniny mountains. Read me soon:)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Unknown India:)

Hello people:)
In this entry of mine I would like to present to you some more pictures that I got from India.
I had to choose some of them. I tried to choose the ones most...interesting, catchy, the ones that can give you a good picture of what India can be like. Maybe my pictures will chnage your view on many things?:) I hope so:) Because I have no doubt that India is a great, great, long lasting and still unknown country, full of different cultures and challenges. As a biologist I would be always the most intersted in Indias biodiversity but I am far from India and I don't know too much about the last.
Look then at the pictures I got and form some conclusions at the end of this presentation:

1. Mumbai University

2. Mumbai Vctoria Terminus

3. Gateway of India - Mumbai

4. Aishawarya Rai - Miss World 1994 from India

5. Yukta Mukhi - Miss World 1999 from India

6. Priyanka Chopra -Miss World 2000 from India

7. King of the Bollywood -Sahrukh Khan

Now time for summing up:
1. these pictures were THE EASIEST to present to you India (one port city + some nice people). I got about 60 but as deals pictures with wildlife I would have to read more to present them:(. No time I have to explain them to you - but if someone is interesed to have a look at them - let me know:)
2. India have got 3 Miss Worlds lately. Not the worst! Next Miss World competition will be held in Poland as far as I know:) Beauties all over the world - you can apply:)
3. Now my question for people who read this blog and are from India - where exactely Bollywood is situated?:) In the north? In the south? How does it look like?:)
Thanks for reading - to be continued:)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Polish Easter:)

Helo everyone:)
Today - before putting some pictures of India I would like to describe you how Polish people celebrate Easter.
I know it MAY BE boring for you. But truly speaking it can be very intersting if you TRY HARDER!!!:)))) I am sure.:)))))
Some words are put in bold to make them more visible - these words are KEY-WORDS:)
Some sentences are put in itallic - these are the things I have never ever herad before finding this description of Polish Easter. Where am I living in? "You live - you learn" - how some singers would put it:)
Ok. That's all by now:) Nice reading:)
India - soon:)

Traditional Easter celebrations in Poland are as old and elaborate as Christmas celebrations and they involve a lot of preparations.One week before Palm Sunday, housewives stopped baking bread through the fear that the bread they baked throughout the rest of the year would spoil. Not until the Holy Week did they start baking. In some parts they began to do so on Good Friday, in others- it was not permitted to bake anything at all that day. If any housewife violated this ban, the entire village would be in danger of a long drought, which could be repelled only by throwing the pots and guilty housewife into a pond.
The celebration of Easter is preceded by Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday. Palm branches and twigs are indispensable accessories of the events of this day. They commemorate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. After the festivities, palm leaves were used for magic rites, such as conjuring up storms and consecrating women at childbirth and sick domestic animals. The original palm branch is replaced by a willow or raspberry branch, and is decorated with ribbons, flowers, and leaves. It is believed that swallowing a willow catkin from a branch consecrated by a priest would bring health, and palm branch placed behind a holy image until the following year would bring the inhabitants luck.
The church bells that had resounded from Palm Sunday onwards fell silent on Holy Thursday. Rattles and clappers took their place. Fires were lit at crossroads so that wayfarers and poor people could warm themselves. Meals were also placed at these spots so that these people could nourish themselves – and together with them the good spirits of the house. On the morning of Holy Thursday, the vestments are changed on the miraculous icon in the chapel of the Pauline monastery at Jasna Gora in Czestochowa. This is one of the most important sites of the religious cult of the Poles, and has been venerated as a national shrine since 14 th century.
The next, Good Friday, marks the start of the vigil at symbolic tombs of Christ, which lasts until Holy Saturday. Visits are made to “tombs of Christ’. The adoration of the Good Friday tombs is called “the visitation of the tombs’. No animals could be slaughtered or bread baked, and mirrors covered over. The use of combs was not allowed, so Good Friday was a day of mourning. A special kind of bread was prepared for Easter Sunday, called “paska” . It was made of flour and yeast. The surface was spread with fat and decorated with a cross made of dough. Apart from cross of dough, it was decorated with flowers and birds. The tradition of preparing “paska” involved women. The master of the house was not permitted to take part of preparing the “paska”, otherwise his moustache would go grey and the dough would fail. On that day a “funeral of zur and herring” was organized. A clay pot with zur was shattered and a herring was hung on a branch as punishment “that for six weeks it had ruled over meat”.
On the next day, Holy Saturday, services accompanied by processions are held to commemorate the Resurrection. Inside the churches, priests sprinkled holy water on small baskets brought by believers and filled with “paska”, cakes, eggs, horseradish, sausages, ham, salt, pepper, and tiny sugar lambs. The consecration of eggs refers to egg being an ancient symbol of life. The consecration of horseradish refers to the bitterness of the passion of Jesus which, on the day of resurrection, changed into joy and sweetness. The custom of coloring eggs for Easter is still observed. Eggs which are painted in one color are called “malowanki” or “kraszanki”. If patterns are etched with a pointed instrument on top of the paint, the eggs are then called “skrobanki” or “rysowanki”. Those eggs decorated with the use of treated wax are called “pisanki”. Another technique involved gluing colored paper or shiny fabric on them. In old Poland, this resurrection service was an opportunity to identify witches, for witches were believed to enjoy eating sausage during sermons, still during Lent. It was also believed that a priest could see which of the women attending mass was a witch, but was not allowed to reveal his information. It was also believed that during Easter procession, a female collaborator of Satan was unable to go around the church three times, and had to leave the procession after the second circuit. After resurrection, gunshots were fired as an expression of joy.
On Sunday morning, beautifully laid table is covered with colored eggs, cold meats, coils of sausages, ham, yeast cakes, pound cakes, poppy-seed cakes, and in the middle of it all, a lamb made of sugar, commemorating the resurrected Christ. No smoke was permitted; therefore no warm meals were served. Horseradish was mixed with beets, “cwikla”, traditionally present on polish Easter tables. Sharing a boiled egg with one’s relatives is a national tradition. A piece of egg with salt and pepper, consecrated by priest, is an inseparable accessory in the good wishes we extend to each other at Easter. Each member of the household received also a piece of the consecrated bread. When spread with horseradish, it was supposed to give protection against throat diseases and against illnesses and complaints. Cakes were very important ingredients of Easter breakfast: gigantic cakes called “baby”, as well as “mazurki” were prepared only for those occasion. The “baby” were either plain vanilla, steamed, saffron-flavored, grated with egg yolk, almond flavored, layered, chocolate-flavored, fluffy, lemon-flavored, bread-like, or many other different kinds. “Mazurek” is a flat cake, usually on a pastry or a wafer, covered with paste of nuts, almonds, cheese etc., colorfully iced and decorated with jam and nuts and raisins. On top of this, imaginative decorations were placed, such as eggs of icing; willow branches made of marzipan, chocolate flowers, and other delicacies. Artistic letters made of cream read “Hallelujah” – joy of the Resurrection. The list of possibilities making “mazurek” cake are endless, ranging from almond flavored, marzipan, chocolate, raisins, nuts and figs, poppy-seed, orange, crumbly with wine or vodka, apple, French-style, layered, and many others.
On Easter Monday there is a very ancient Easter tradition called “Smingus-Dyngus” – custom of pouring water on one another. One week later, an interesting event takes place in Krakow. The hero of the festivity is “lajkonik” or a man disguised as Tatar, riding a peculiar kind of hobby horse. The custom dates back to the 17 th century. The legend says of an unexpected Tatar foray on the Krakow province in the 13 th century. A brave young raftsman, having gathered a group of companions, defeated the invaders and returned to town wearing the colorful outfit of a Tatar khan. During the Tatar attack, the legend then follows, a Tatar arrow struck in the throat a Krakow trumpeter, who from the spire of the church of the Holy Virgin tried to alarm citizens of the danger. Since that time, Krakow bugle-call, sounded every hour from the tower of the church, breaks abruptly.

Ok. In my home noone never makes any "Mazurek".
Besides ...tomorrow Smigus-Dyngus. In practice is DANGROUS to go out of house then cause young people are really BRAINLESS here and when the weather is awful you can be ill soon after washing with a ...BUCKET!!!
So TAKE CARE please.
And here are some nice Polish Easter cards. I think they are really cute:) Enjoy Easter-specially when you are in Poland:)

PS. I hope that someone reads that blog of mine. Maybe it isn't too interesting but I have to work so hard to write it... put some nice comments here like . "Your blog is super" or "we love you". I feel like writing to the dead men sometimes:(((

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Time for ...India:)


After some pause - time for... India. Yes. Well... I have obtained some nice pictures of this country lately but my knowledge of India is... less than zero (what a shame). So I feel a need to change it now before I will put some of the great pictures I have been sent into my totally interesting blog:))) Here are some of the most important info (in my opinion) I have chosen to present from wikipedia on-line encyclopedia. I haven't had any idea till that cricket is India's national sport. Interesting.
Over 1 billion people lives in India. A lot of. And as I can read the society is very divided too:(((.

The Republic of India is a country that occupies a greater part of South Asia. It has a coastline of over seven thousand kilometres, borders Pakistan to the west, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, it is adjacent to three island nations – the Maldives to the southwest, Sri Lanka to the south, and Indonesia to the southeast. India also claims a border with Afghanistan to the northwest.

India's Maldives - on the picture above:) A real paradise - you have to admit it:)

The name India /'ɪndiə/ is derived from the Old Persian version of Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the River Indus (see Origin of India's name). The Constitution of India and common usage also recognise Bharat, as an official name of equal status. A third name, Hindustan has been used since the twelfth century, though its contemporary use is unevenly applied due to domestic disputes by some over its representation as a national signifier.

India is the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) and the tenth largest in nominal (exchange-rate) terms. With a population of over one billion, it is the second most populous country in the world and the world's largest liberal democracy. India is also seventh largest country by geographical area.

As home to one of the four major ancient civilisations and a center of important trade routes, India has long played a significant role in human history. Famous for its rich religious traditions, four of the major world religionsHinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism–all have their origins in India.

A former colony of the British Empire, India gained independence in 1947 as a unified state. The country suffered from stagnation for many decades and was relegated to the status of a leader of the Third World. Since the 1980s, however, India has begun liberalizing its economy and opening its doors to free trade. Today, India's influence, especially in the political and economic spheres, has grown significantly and it is now considered a major power.


Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in present-day India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago, and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, which began around 3300 BCE and peaked between 2600 BCE and 1900 BCE. It was followed by the Vedic Civilisation. This civilisation was preceded by the Indus valley civilisation in northern parts of the present day India and Pakistan.From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms came into being.

In the north, the Maurya dynasty, which included Ashoka, contributed greatly to India's cultural landscape. From 180 BCE, a series of invasions from Central Asia followed. This led to the establishment of the Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian kingdoms in the northern Indian Subcontinent, and finally the Kushan Empire. From the third century BCE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient India's "Golden Age". In the south, several dynasties, including the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Pallavas and Pandyas prevailed during different periods. Science, engineering, art, literature, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings.

Following the Islamic invasions from Central Asia and Persia in the seventh to the twelfth centuries, much of north and central India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, and later the Mughal dynasty, who gradually expanded their reign to much of the Indian subcontinent. Nevertheless, several indigenous kingdoms flourished, especially in the relatively sheltered south, like the Vijayanagara Empire. During mid-second millennium, several European countries, including Portugal, Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, who initially wanted to trade with India, took advantage of the fractured kingdoms fighting each other, to establish colonies in the country. In 1857, an insurrection, known locally as the First War of Indian Independence against the British East India Company failed. This resulted in much of India coming under the direct administrative control of the crown of the British Empire. In the early twentieth century, the prolonged, non-violent struggle for independence was led by Mahatma Gandhi, widely regarded as the "Father of the Nation." The struggle culminated on 15 August 1947 when India gained full independence from British rule, and became a republic on 26 January 1950.

As a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, India has had some sectarian violence and insurgencies in various parts of the country, but has stayed together as a vibrant democracy. It has unresolved border disputes with China, which escalated into the brief Sino-Indian War in 1962; and with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and in 1999 in Kargil. India is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. In 1974, India conducted an underground nuclear test, making it an unofficial member of the "nuclear club". This was followed by a series of five more tests in 1998. Significant economic reforms beginning in 1991 have transformed India into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and added to its global and regional clout.

States and union territories

India is divided into twenty-eight states (which are further subdivided into districts) and seven union territories. All states and the union territories of Delhi and Pondicherry have elected governments. The remaining five union territories have centrally-appointed administrators.


  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  8. Haryana
  9. Himachal Pradesh
  10. Jammu and Kashmir
  11. Jharkhand
  12. Karnataka
  13. Kerala
  14. Madhya Pradesh
  1. Maharashtra
  2. Manipur
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Mizoram
  5. Nagaland
  6. Orissa
  7. Punjab
  8. Rajasthan
  9. Sikkim
  10. Tamil Nadu
  11. Tripura
  12. Uttaranchal
  13. Uttar Pradesh
  14. West Bengal

Union Territories:

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  4. Daman and Diu
  5. Lakshadweep
  6. Pondicherry
  7. National Capital Territory of Delhi

On the picture above you can see traditional garments from people
from Rajhastan state (find on the map above)


India is largely on the Indian subcontinent situated on the Indian Plate, the northerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, in southern Asia. India's northern and northeastern states are partially situated in the Himalayan Mountain Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain. In the west, bordering southeast Pakistan, lies the Thar Desert. The southern Indian Peninsula is almost entirely composed of the Deccan plateau, which is flanked by two hilly coastal ranges, the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.

India is home to several major rivers, including the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Yamuna, Godavari, Kaveri, and Krishna. India has three archipelagos – Lakshadweep off the southwest coast, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands volcanic island chain to the southeast, and the Sunderbans in the Gangetic Delta in West Bengal State. The Indian climate varies from tropical in the south to more temperate in the north. The Himalayan parts of India have a tundra climate. India gets most of its rains through the monsoons.


India is the second-most populous country in the world with an estimated 1.19 billion people in 2006. The main determinants of social and political organisation within the highly diverse population are language, religion and caste. India's largest metropolitan agglomerations are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and Chennai (formerly Madras). India's literacy rate is 64.8% overall, 53.7% for females and 75.3% of males. The gender ratio is 933 females per 1000 males. The Work Participation Rate (WPR; the percentage of workers to total population) is 39.1%, with male WPR at 51.7% and female WPR at 25.6%. India's median age is 24.66, and the population growth rate is 22.32 births per 1,000.
Although 80.5% of the people are Hindus, India is also home to the third-largest population of Muslims in the world (13.4%; see Islam in India), after Indonesia and Pakistan. Other religious groups include Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.84%), Buddhists (0.76%), Jains (0.40%), Jews, Zoroastrians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Bahá'ís. India is home to two major linguistic families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by about 24%) with a number of other languages from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman linguistic families. The constitution recognises 23 official languages. Hindi and English are used by the Central Government for official purposes. Two classical languages native to the land are Sanskrit and Tamil. The number of mother tongues in India is as high as 1,652.


India has a rich and unique cultural heritage, and has managed to preserve its established traditions throughout history whilst absorbing customs, traditions and ideas from both invaders and immigrants. Many cultural practices, languages, customs and monuments are examples of this co-mingling over centuries. Famous monuments, such as the Taj Mahal and other examples of Islamic-inspired architecture have been inherited from the Mughal dynasty. These are the result of a syncretic tradition that combined elements from all parts of the country. Indian society is largely pluralist, multilingual and multicultural.

On the picture above-Taj Mahal - the monument located in Agra in India, constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of more than twenty thousand. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, who was known as Mumtaz Mahal.
The Taj (as it is often called) is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Hindu and Persian architectures. The Taj has achieved special note because of the romance of its inspiration. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj is actually a complex of elements.

Indian music is represented in a wide variety of forms. The two main forms of classical music are Carnatic from South India, and Hindustani from North India. Popular forms of music also prevail, the most notable being Filmi music. In addition to this are the diverse traditions of folk music from different parts of the country. Many classical dance forms exist, including the Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak and Manipuri. They often have a narrative form and are usually infused with devotional and spiritual elements. The earliest literary traditions in India were mostly oral, and were later transcribed. Most of these are represented by sacred works like the Vedas and the epics of the Mahabharatha and Ramayana. Sangam literature from Tamil Nadu represents some of India's oldest traditions. There have been many notable modern Indian writers, both in Indian languages and in English. India's only Nobel laureate in literature was the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore. India produces the world's largest number of films every year. The most recognisable face is that of cinema production based in Mumbai, which produces mainly commercial Hindi films, often referred to as "Bollywood". There are also strong cinema industries based on the Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Bhojpuri and Telugu languages.

Religious practices of various faiths are an integral part of everyday life in society.

On the picture above -Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Inaugurated in November 2005 by the President of India, Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minisiter, Manmohan Singh, and the leader of the organisation responsible for the creation of Akshardham, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, this complex has already attracted tens of thousands of visitors from all over the globe.

Education is highly regarded by members of every socio-economic stratum. Traditional Indian family values are highly respected, and considered sacred, although urban families have grown to prefer a nuclear family system, owing to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Religion in India is a very public affair, with many practices imbued with pomp and vitality accompanying their underlying spiritual qualities. A melting pot of many religions, India has a rich diversity of festivals, many of which are celebrated irrespective of caste and creed. The most widely known and popular celebrations include the Hindu festivals of Diwali, Holi, and Dussehra, and the Muslim celebration of Eid.

The cuisine of India is extremely diverse, as ingredients, spices and cooking methods vary from region to region. Rice and wheat are the staple foods in the country. The country is notable for its wide variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian cuisine. Spicy food and sweets are popular in India. Traditional dress in India greatly varies across the regions in its colours and styles, and depend on various factors, including climate. Popular styles of dress include the traditional sari for women and the traditional dhoti for men.

Sports and games

India's national sport is field hockey, although cricket is now the de facto national game. In some states, particularly in the northeast, football (soccer) is the most popular sport and is widely watched. India is also represented in chess, with international-level players including Viswanathan Anand who was FIDE World Champion. India has also seen some success in tennis with several players securing individual titles and Grand Slam doubles wins.

India cricket fans from Mumbai on the picture above:)

Traditional indigenous sports include Polo, Kabaddi and Gilli-danda, which are played in most parts of the country. Chess, badminton and carom are also said to have originated in India. Snooker and badminton have seen Indians achieve some international success.

Be prepared for the most SHOCKING India's pictures ever- soon only on my blog!!!
Dancing, dangerous snakes jumping out of Fakirs baskets and jugs!!!
This is REAL India:)

Read me soon!!!:)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

John Paul II

Today I feel I should write some words about Polish Pope who died one year ago and the anniversary of his death was celebrated in Poland some days ago.
Here some words about his biography. There are some commonly less or more known facts but I have thought he had the third longest pontificate when I have just read - the second longest. Fine - who had the longest one? Saint Peter only? Interesting.
Besides you should know - cause it isn't written in most of great encyclopedias that some centuries before one famous Polish national poet predicted that a Slavian pope will take a Peter's throne in Rome. He probably had a dream or was in a very prophetical mood. Well... but 200 years it happened he was right. I think it is worthy to write it. I think next Pope will be French or Italian for sure. I cannot imagine anything else:(. Of course I wish all the best to the Benedict XVI but such are my suspicions as deals his succesors.
Nice reading:)
Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II ), born Karol Józef Wojtyła (May 18, 1920April 2, 2005) reigned as pope of the Roman Catholic Church for almost 27 years, from October 16, 1978 until his death, making his the second-longest pontificate. On May 9, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, John Paul II's successor, waived the five year waiting period for a cause for beatification to be opened. He was the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century. His early reign was marked by his opposition to Communism, and he is often credited as one of the forces which brought about its fall. In the later part of his pontificate, he was notable for speaking against consumerism, unrestrained capitalism, abortion, cultural relativism and what he deemed as the "culture of death".
Karol Józef Wojtyła was born on 18 May 1920 in Wadowice in southern Poland. His Lithuanian mother, Emilia Kaczorowska, died in 1929, when he was just aged 9 and his father supported him so that he could study. His youth was marked by extensive contacts with the then thriving Jewish community of Wadowice. In fact, he grew up playing soccer in the streets of Wadowice with his Jewish friends and neighbors.
Karol enrolled at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He worked as a volunteer librarian and did compulsory military training in the Academic Legion. In his youth he was an athlete, actor and playwright and he learned as many as twelve languages during his lifetime, including Latin, Ukrainian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, English, and of course his native Polish. He also had some facility with Russian.
During the Second World War academics of the Jagiellonian University were arrested and the university suppressed. All able-bodied males had to have a job. He variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant and a manual labourer in a limestone quarry.

Church career
In 1942 he entered the underground seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha. Karol Wojtyła was ordained a priest on 1 November 1946. Not long after, he was sent to study theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, commonly known as the Angelicum, where he earned a licentiate and later a doctorate in sacred theology. This doctorate, the first of two, was based on the Latin dissertation Doctrina de fide apud S. Ioannem a Cruce (The Doctrine of Faith According to Saint John of the Cross). Even though his doctoral work was unanimously approved in June of 1948, he was denied the degree because he could not afford to print the text of his dissertation (an Angelicum rule). In December of that year, a revised text of his dissertation was approved by the theological faculty of Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and Wojtyła was finally awarded the degree.
He earned a second doctorate, based on an evaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of phenomenologist Max Scheler (An Evaluation of the Possibility of Constructing a Christian Ethics on the Basis of the System of Max Scheler), in 1954. As was the case with the first degree, he was not granted the degree upon earning it. This time, the faculty at Jagiellonian University was forbidden by communist authorities from granting the degree. In conjunction with his habilitation at Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, he finally obtained the doctorate in philosophy in 1957 from that institution, where he had assumed the Chair of Ethics in 1956.
On 4 July 1958 Pope Pius XII named him titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary to Archbishop Baziak, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Kraków. Karol Wojtyła found himself at 38 the youngest bishop in Poland.
In 1962 Bishop Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council, and in December 1963 Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Kraków. Paul VI elevated him to cardinal in 1967.

A Pope from Poland
In August 1978 following Paul's death, he voted in the Papal Conclave that elected Pope John Paul I, who at 65 was considered young by papal standards. However John Paul I was in poor health and he died after only 33 days as pope, thereby precipitating another conclave.
Voting in the second conclave was divided between two particularly strong candidates: Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the Archbishop of Genoa; and Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, the Archbishop of Florence and a close associate of Pope John Paul I. In early ballots, Benelli came within nine votes of victory. However Wojtyła secured election as a compromise candidate, in part through the support of Franz Cardinal König and others who had previously supported Cardinal Siri.
He became the 264th Pope according to the Vatican. At only 58 years of age, he was the youngest pope elected since Pope Pius IX in 1846. Like his immediate predecessor, Pope John Paul II dispensed with the traditional Papal coronation and instead received ecclesiastical investiture with the simplified Papal inauguration on October 22, 1978. As Bishop of Rome he took possession of his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on November 12, 1978.

Assassination attempts
On 13 May 1981 John Paul II was shot and critically wounded by Mehmet Ali Ağca, a Turkish gunman, as he entered St. Peter's Square to address an audience. Ağca was caught and sentenced to life imprisonment. Two days after Christmas 1983, John Paul II visited the prison where his would-be assassin was being held. The two spoke privately for 20 minutes. John Paul II said, "What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust."
On March 2, 2006, an Italian parliamentary commission concluded that the Soviet Union was behind the attempt, in retaliation for John Paul II's support to Solidarity, the Polish workers' movement, a thesis which had already been supported by Michael Ledeen and the CIA at the time. The report stated that certain Bulgarian security departments were utilized to prevent the Soviet Union's role from being uncovered. However, alternative theories also exist, and the Pope himself declared during a May 2002 visit to Bulgaria that this country had nothing to do with the assassination attempt. The failed assassin was also a member of the ultra-nationalist Turkish Grey Wolves, who were allegedly infiltrated by Gladio, a NATO sponsored paramilitary organization created in order to counter a potential Soviet invasion. Bulgaria and Russia disputed the Italian commission's conclusions, pointing out that the Pope denied the Bulgarian connection.
Another assassination attempt took place on 12 May 1982, just a day before the anniversary of the last attempt on his life, in Fatima, Portugal when a man tried to stab John Paul II with a bayonet, but was stopped by security guards. The assailant, an ultraconservative and right wing Spanish priest named Juan María Fernández y Krohn, reportedly opposed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and called the pope an agent of Moscow. He subsequently left the Roman Catholic priesthood and served a six-year sentence, and was expelled from Portugal afterwards.

Main article: Health of Pope John Paul II
When he first entered the papacy in 1978, John Paul II was an avid sportsman, enjoying hiking and swimming. In addition, John Paul II travelled extensively after becoming pope; at the time, the 58-year old was extremely healthy and active.
In 1981, though, John Paul II's health suffered a major blow after the first failed assassination attempt. The bullet-wound caused severe bleeding, and the Pope's blood pressure dropped. In addition, a colostomy was also performed. He nevertheless maintained an impressive physical condition throughout the 1980s.
Starting about 1992, John Paul II's health slowly declined. He began to suffer from an increasingly slurred speech and difficulty in hearing. In addition, the Pope rarely walked in public. Though not officially confirmed by the Vatican until 2003, most experts agreed that the frail pontiff suffered from Parkinson's Disease.
In February 2005 John Paul II was taken to the hospital with an inflammation of the larynx, the result of influenza. Though later released from the hospital, he was taken back later that month after difficulty breathing. A tracheotomy was performed, limiting the pope's speaking abilities.
In March of 2005, speculation was high that the Pope was near death; this was confirmed by the Vatican a few days before John Paul II passed away.

On 31 March 2005 the Pope developed a very high fever, but was neither rushed to the hospital, nor offered life support, apparently, in accordance with his wishes to die in the Vatican. Later that day Vatican sources announced that John Paul II had been given the Anointing of the Sick by his friend and secretary Stanisław Dziwisz. During the final days of the Pope's life, the lights were kept burning through the night where he lay in the Papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace.
Thousands of people rushed to the Vatican, filling St Peter's Square and beyond, and held vigil for two days. At about 15:30 CEST, John Paul II spoke his final words, "Let me go to the house of the Father", to his aides in his native Polish and fell into a coma about four hours later. He died in his private apartments, at 21:37 CEST (19:37 UTC) on 2 April, 46 days short of his 85th birthday. Mass of the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter, that is, Divine Mercy Sunday, had just been celebrated at his bedside.
A crowd of over two million within Vatican City, over one billion Catholics world-wide, and many non-Catholics mourned John Paul II. The Poles were particularly devastated by his death. The public viewing of his body in St. Peter's Basilica drew over four million people to Vatican City and was one of the largest pilgrimages in the history of Christianity. Many world leaders expressed their condolences and ordered flags in their countries lowered to half-mast. Numerous countries with a Catholic majority, and even some with only a small Catholic population, declared mourning for John Paul II.

The death of Pope John Paul II set into motion rituals and traditions dating back to medieval times. The Rite of Visitation took place from 4 April through 22:00 CET (20:00 UTC) on 7 April at St. Peter's Basilica. On 8 April the Mass of Requiem was conducted by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Joseph Ratzinger, who would later become the next pope. It has been estimated to have been the largest attended funeral of all time.
John Paul II was interred in the grottoes under the basilica, the Tomb of the Popes. He was lowered into the tomb that had been occupied by the remains of Blessed Pope John XXIII, but which had been empty since his remains had been moved into the main body of the basilica after his beatification by John Paul II in 2003.

John Paul "The Great"
Since the death of John Paul II, a number of clergy at the Vatican have been referring to the late pontiff as "John Paul the Great"—only the fourth pope to be so acclaimed, and the first since the first millennium. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, referred to him as "the great Pope John Paul II" in his first address from the loggia of St Peter's Church. Pope Benedict has continued to refer to John Paul II as "the Great." At the 2005 World Youth Day in Germany, Pope Benedict, speaking in Polish, John Paul's native language, said, "As the great Pope John Paul II would say: keep the flame of faith alive in your lives and your people." The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera even called him "the Greatest."
Scholars of canon law say that there is no official process for declaring a pope "Great"; the title establishes itself through popular, and continued, usage. The three popes who today commonly are known as "Great" are Leo I, who reigned from 440461 and persuaded Attila the Hun to withdraw from Rome; Gregory I, 590604, after whom the Gregorian Chant is named; and Nicholas I, 858867, who also withstood a siege of Rome (in this case from Carolingian Christians, over a dispute regarding marriage annulment).
Historically, the title "the Great" has been given only to the first pope (or sovereign) in a line bearing a name. John Paul II would, by this criterion, be unlikely to be dubbed "the Great." However, there are exceptions. For example, Alexander the Great, was also Alexander III. The fact that, until John Paul II, no popes after the first, have received this title is likely more a function of the fact that so few popes have been acclaimed "the Great" at all, and as such this is not a title that is limited to only the first pope of a given name.

On 9 May 2005 Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor, John Paul II. Normally five years must pass after a person's death, before the beatification process can begin. However, in an audience with Pope Benedict, Camillo Cardinal Ruini cited "exceptional circumstances" which suggested that the waiting period could be waived. As Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Ruini is responsible for promoting the cause for canonisation of any person who dies within that diocese. In all other dioceses it would be the Bishop himself. The "exceptional circumstances" presumably refer to the cries of "Santo subito!" ("Saint now!") during the late pontiff's funeral. Therefore the new Pope waived the five year rule "so that the cause of Beatification and Canonization of the same Servant of God can begin immediately. The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the 24th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul's life. John Paul often credited Our Lady of Fatima for preserving him on that day. Cardinal Ruini inaugurated the diocesan phase of the cause for beatification in the Lateran Basilica on 28 June 2005.
In early 2006, it was reported that the Vatican was investigating a possible miracle associated with John Paul II. A French nun, confined to her bed by Parkinson's Disease, is reported to have experienced a "complete and lasting cure after members of her community prayed for the intercession of Pope John Paul II".