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April 26th, 2005
White Smoke
Timeline: The Papacy
1242 The first conclave is held.
The papacy returns to Rome, after residing in Avignon, France since 1305.
1447 – 1513
During the Renaissance various popes (Nicholas V, Pius II, Sixtus IV, Innocent VIII, Julius II and Alexander VI to name a few) show great interest in the arts. The Vatican art collection grows immensely.
1475 – 1483 Giovanni de Dolci builds the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
Pope Julius II asks Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He began in May and finished in October of 1512.
1860 The army of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, seizes control of the approximately 17,000 square miles that constituted the Papal States.
1871 In May, by order of Italian law, the territory of the papacy is confined to the Vatican and Lateran palaces, as well as the villa of Castel Gandolfo. The popes unilaterally refuse to recognize this decree.
1929 In February the Lateran Treaty between the Vatican and the kingdom of Italy establishes the autonomy of the Vatican City.
1962 In October the first session of Ecumenical Council Vatican II is brought into being by John XXIII. The expressed purpose of this council is to discuss and address problems surrounding the modernization of the Roman Catholic Church. The eventual result is a significant decentralization of the church.
1978 On August 26, Cardinal Albino Luciani is selected to succeed Paul VI as Pope. Cardinal Luciani takes the name John Paul I, but 34 short days after his election, he dies of a heart attack. The reign of John Paul I is the shortest in 373 years. On October 16, 1978 Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is chosen to succeed John Paul I. He takes the name John Paul II and becomes the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century.
1981 On May 13, a Turkish terrorist shoots Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. This marks the first assassination attempt made against the pontiff in contemporary times.
1985 On June 3, the Vatican and Italy ratify a new version of the concordat (church/state treaty). The new agreement reaffirms the autonomy of Vatican City but puts an end to many privileges the Catholic Church had until then enjoyed in Italy, including its status as the official state religion.
2005 On April 2 Pope John Paul II died. His 26-year-long reign was the third longest in history. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected by the College of Cardinals on Tuesday, April 19th.

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