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Vatican marks 23 years of John Paul II's papacy

Bishops applauded Pope John Paul II and wished him many more years as pontiff as he began the 24th year of his papacy on Tuesday.

John Paul was greeted as he walked into the morning session of the World Synod of Bishops in the modern Synod Hall.

"Many more years," they shouted. The frail, 81-year-old pontiff walks with difficulty and suffers from symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as slurred speech and trembling hands. But he keeps up his public appearances and worldwide travels.

John Paul, then a robust 58-year-old cardinal from Poland, was elected to the papacy by his fellow cardinals on Oct. 16, 1978. He was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

A long list of ailments that began when he was shot in the abdomen by a would-be assassin in 1981 has slowed him down. He looked particularly weak during a visit last month to Armenia.

Kasper, Tucci, Cipriani on John Paul's 23 Years (Inside the Vatican)