Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in the Italian village of Sotto il Monte on November 25, 1881.

He graduated in 1904 with a doctorate in theology and was ordained priest. A year later, he was appointed secretary to his bishop.

In 1914, as World War I broke out, he was drafted into the Italian army as a chaplain and stretcher-bearer.

After the war, Roncalli was appointed president of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

In 1925 he was named apostolic visitor to Bulgaria and for the next few decades took on a number of diplomatic roles.

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