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The Names of Pope John Paul II

Part of the John Paul II For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Like any pope, John Paul II was not born as "John Paul." Here are the names, nicknames, aliases, and pseudonyms John Paul II used (or answered to) in his lifetime.

  • Karol Jozef Wojtyła — The name Pope John Paul II was born, baptized, and grew up with.

  • Lolek — The nickname young Karol was called as a boy. The English equivalent would be Charlie or Chuck, because his first name is Charles in English.

  • Wujek — Polish for “uncle.” This was a nickname given by students to their professor-priests — especially under Communist occupation — so as not to alert government officials that a Catholic priest was violating the law and teaching outside of school.

  • Andrzej Jawien, Piotr Jasien, and Stanislaw Andrzej Gruda — Three pseudonyms John Paul II used when he authored a few plays and poems.

  • John Paul II — The name he took after being elected pope by the College of Cardinals in 1978 after the death of Pope John Paul I, who only reigned for one month.

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