The will, written over more than two decades and made public on Thursday, also indicates that early in his pontificate he considered the possibility of a funeral in Poland. 

"I hope He (God) helps me understand until what moment I have to continue in this service to which he called me on October 16, 1978," he said in the will, referring to the date that he was elected pontiff. 

That passage was written in the year 2000. The pope firmly believed that his mission was to lead the church into the new millennium. 

By that time the pope's health had seriously declined and Parkinson's Disease was taking a heavy toll.

The pope said in the will he was ready to die at any time. Death appeared to be ever present in his mind after a failed assassination attempt against him in 1981. 

Burial preference

The will, which was mostly a spiritual testament, asks that all his personal notes be burned.

In the last section of the will, which was written in Polish, the pope thanks the Roman Catholic Church, other religions, particularly the Jews, as well as artists, scientists and politicians for their support during his pontificate. 

"I hope He (God) helps me understand until what moment I have to continue in this service to which he called me on October 16, 1978"

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II died last Saturday and his funeral will be held in the Vatican on Friday.

In his will, the pope said he wanted to be buried "in the earth, not in a tomb". 

In a section of the will written on 5 March 1982, nearly a year after the assassination bid, he made a reference to his "place of funeral". 

In that section he said he wanted the Roman Catholic College of Cardinals to "satisfy as far as possible" the desires of the cardinal of Krakow and the entire Polish bishops' conference. 

Two years later, he specified in another entry that the College of Cardinals was no longer obliged to ask the Polish bishops for their view on his funeral.