Pope John Paul i, the smiling Pope


Our Pope John Paul i is born as Albino Luciani on October 17th 1928 at Forno di Canale in Belluno, a province in Northern Italy. He was the son of Giovanni Luciani, a bricklayer. His mother was Bortola Tancon. He had two brothers and one sister.

His student years and education 

Luciano went to the minor seminary of Feltre in 1923. According to his teachers he was “too lively”. After his study period in Feltre he entered the major seminary in Belluno. During this period he tried to join the Jesuits, but he was denied.

He was ordained a priest on July 7, 1935 and served as a curate in the place he was born, Forno di Canale. Two years later he became a professor and the vice-rector of the Belluno seminary where he first studied.

At this seminary he taught Dogmatic and Moral Theology, Canon Law and Sacred Art.

In the year 1941 Luciano began to seek a doctorate in theology which he obtained some time later, after getting a special dispensation of Pope Pius XII to study. He earned his doctorate cum laude!

How he became Patriarch of Venice

  • He became vicar general to the Bishop of Belluno some years after his doctorate and he was also in charge of diocesan catechetics.
  • He became bishop himself in 1958, appointed by Pope John XXIII.
  • He participated in all the sessions of the Vatican Council II.
  • Pope Paul VI appointed him as Patriarch of Venice in the year 1969.

Luciano was known to be a very humble man. He felt very embarrassed when Pope Paul VI once removed his papal stole and put it on his shoulders.

 His election as Pope

After Paul VI died all the Cardinals elected Luciano as the next Pope of The Catholic Religion. That happened on August 26th, 1978.

The Cardinals who held the conclave declared with great joy that they had elected “God's candidate". Some even said they witnessed a “moral miracle”. Even Mother Teresa called him a “sunray of God's love, shining in the darkness of the world”.

Luciano was the first to choose a double name, Pope John Paul i, to reign. He did this in honor of his two predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. He is one of the Popes who reigned one of the shortest periods in papal history.

Sadly Luciano died just 33 days later. On September 28th 1978 he was found dead in his bed.

The Italians remember him as “the smiling Pope” and “the smile of God”.


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