On this day in history, Pope John Paul II was inaugurated as Pope. The 2nd longest serving pope and the first non Italian for over 450 years he held office from 1978 to his death in 2005. Polish born, he supported the Solidarity movement in Poland and was influential in the fall of the Eastern Bloc. As pope he visited 129 countries. He upheld orthodox beliefs on issues such as sexuality and abortion and improved relations with other faiths.