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Two Popes Officially Declared Saints by Current Pope

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- The double canonization of two popes Sunday, the first time that has happened, delighted Roman Catholics the world over.

Pope Francis proclaimed John the 23rd and John Paul the Second as saints at a ceremony in St. Peter's Square attended by an estimated one million people as well as Pope Benedict the 16th, who retired in 2013.

From 1958 until his death in 1963, John the 23rd was instrumental in bringing the church into the modern era with Vatican II. John Paul the Second, a charismatic leader from 1978 through 2005, was credited with helping to end Communism in Eastern Europe while strengthening Catholic doctrine.

Since his death in 2005, John Paul II has zoomed through the path to sainthood, while Pope John XXIII had to wait 51 years.

The two modern-day pontiffs join 78 other popes and thousands of others who have endured the typically long path to sainthood.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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