The Apostolic Prefecture of the Vatican announced Pope John Paul II has broken the record for the number of people that he has received in his general audiences.

According to statistics, more than 17 million people during 1,112 general audiences have been received by the Pope in the 25 years of his pontificate.

2003 was a record year itself, with more than 48 audiences attended by 500,000 people, surpassed only by 1983, during which the Pope held 49 audiences.  1979 and 2000 saw the greatest number of visitors to the Vatican, topping 500,000 each year.