John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized today by Pope Francis in an unprecedented ceremony witnessed by huge crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Millions more around the world watched as two former pontiffs were for the first time installed as saints in a dual canonization.
The faithful and the curious packed the streets of Rome around the Vatican before dawn, hoping to gain entry to St. Peter’s Square and catch a direct glimpse of church history in the making.
Vatican Radio put the crowds at some 800,000 in the St. Peter’s area, including the square and the roads and gardens around it. Another 500,000 followed the proceedings on giant screens set up around Rome, according to estimates based on police aerial shots.
In another first on a historic day, two living popes were present for the ceremony.