Pope Paul VI (Latin: Paulus PP. VI; Italian: Paolo VI), born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini (26 September 1897 – 6 August 1978), reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it. He fostered improved ecumenical relations with Orthodox and Protestants, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements.
Montini served in the Vatican's State Department from 1922 to 1954. While in the State Department, Montini and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential co-workers of Pope Pius XII, who named him in 1954 Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese, yet denying him the Cardinal designation that traditionally accompanies being Archbishop of Milan, a function which made him automatically Secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, and after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most likely successors.
He took on the name Paul to indicate a renewed worldwide mission to spread the message of Christ. He re-opened the Second Vatican Council, which was automatically closed with the death of John XXIII, and gave it priority and direction. After the Council concluded its work, Paul VI took charge of the interpretation and implementation of its mandates, often walking a thin line between the conflicting expectations of various groups within the Roman Catholic Church. The magnitude and depth of the reforms affecting all areas of Church life during his pontificate exceeded similar reform policies of his predecessors and successors.