John Paul II now No. 5 on long-reigning pope list
The reign of Pope John Paul II is now the fifth longest in the 2000-year history of the pontificate.
The current pontificate is now equal in length to that of the 8th-century Pope Adrian I: 23 years, 10 months, and 24 days. As of tomorrow, Pope John Paul will stand alone in fifth place in terms of papal longevity.
The longest pontificate was the first: St. Peter led the Church for somewhere between 34 and 37 years (the historic records are unclear regarding exact dates). Pope Pius IX served on Peter's throne for 31 years, from 1846 to 1878. And his successor Pope Leo XIII ranks next in terms of length, having served for 25 years, from 1878 to 1903.
Pope Pius VI, who ruled in the 18th century, enjoyed a pontificate of 24 years, 6 months-- a term that John Paul II would not reach until March 17, 2004.
The Pope Page (Catholic Information
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Catholic World News
10 Sep 2002