Popes John Paul II and John XXIII are scheduled to officially become saints next year.

Pope Francis announced on Monday during a meeting with cardinals inside the Apostolic Palace that the two popes would be declared saints on April 27, 2014.

Francis had announced in July he would canonize two of the 20th century's most influential popes together, approving a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession and bending Vatican rules by deciding that John XXIII didn't need one.

Analysts have said the decision to canonize them together was aimed at unifying the church since each has his own admirers and critics. Francis is clearly a fan of both: On the anniversary of John Paul's death this year, Francis prayed at the tombs of both men — an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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