Vatican City. On January 3, it was publicly confirmed for
the first time that Pope John Paul II was suffering from
Parkinson's disease. Later that month, the pope appointed 44
new cardinals, further strengthening the conservative
fallout within the college that will appoint his successor.
In the spring, the Vatican received criticism from
Archbishop Christodoulos, leader of the Greek Orthodox
Church, for the looting of Constantinople during the Fourth
Crusade in 1204. A formal apology was demanded, which came
May 4 when the Pope made a very distinguished visit to
Greece. It was the first pope's visit in Greece in nearly
1,000 years and it sparked sharp protests from several
groups in Greek society. According to
Countryaah, the visit was part of a pilgrimage
he made in the footsteps of the apostle Paul from Syria to
Malta. In Syria, John Paul II visited Damascus, where he
became the first pope to visit a mosque.
A new law was passed during the year, which meant that a
number of amendments to the constitution were incorporated
into the Constitution. Thus, a clearer distinction was made
between legislative, executive and judicial authorities.
However, the Pope retains the utmost power in the Vatican