.- Pope John Paul II will become the third-longest reigning pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, exceeding the reign of Leo XIII by serving 9,281 days since his election October 1978.
The Pope, who celebrated his 25th anniversary as pontiff last fall, will come in third after Pius IX, who served more than 31 years, and the first pope, the Apostle Peter, whose dates are not confirmed.
The 83-year-old pontiff will mark this remarkable milestone Sunday but the occasion will pass without any big celebrations.
Pius IX served from June 1846 to February 1878. Historians are divided over whether Peter served 34 or 37 years as the first pope.