33-day 'Smiling Pope' John Paul I beatified at the Vatican

33-day 'Smiling Pope' John Paul I beatified at the Vatican

John Paul I's death was shrouded in controversy - and conspiracy theories

Pope John Paul I, who led the Roman Catholic Church for 33 days in 1978, has been beatified at the Vatican - the last step before sainthood.

Thousands gathered in St Peter's Square for the ceremony led by Pope Francis.

Last year, Pope Francis credited the late Pope with the miracle cure of an Argentine girl. A second miracle is needed for the move to sainthood.

Described as the "smiling Pope", John Paul I was the shortest-serving pope since 1605.

John Paul I was born Albino Luciani, the son of a bricklayer in the Dolomite mountains in Italy.

During his brief tenure, he defended the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to abortion and contraception but he also sought to reform institutions and root out corruption.

How does someone become a saint?

Pope Francis described him as someone who "lived without compromise".

John Paul I died of a heart attack on 28 September 1978.

His death caused much controversy - and conspiracy theories - due to two slightly differing accounts.

The Vatican said he was found dead by two nuns.

Initially, however, it had said a priest had found him - uneasy with the fact that women had entered the Pope's private quarters.

For an individual to be beatified, a miracle needs to be attributed to prayers made to them after their death.

The miracle attributed to the now beatified Pope was the healing of an 11-year-old girl after her parents had prayed to Pope John Paul I.

In the last 1,000 years, just eight popes have been made saints.

33-day 'Smiling Pope' John Paul I beatified at the Vatican