Vatican City Honoring Roman Catholic communities that survived Soviet persecution, Pope John Paul II said Sunday that he has named two archbishops from Ukraine and one from Latvia to the rank of cardinal, in an unexpected enlargement of the body that helps him govern the church.
The pope also elevated four other archbishops to the College of Cardinals two from Germany, one from Bolivia and the first black South African.
The move was a surprise because the pope had expanded the college by 37 members just a week earlier, pushing the number of voting cardinals to a record 128 eight over the prescribed limit. With the addition of Sunday's appointments, 44 men will be installed as cardinals Feb. 21.
One of the Germans tapped is liberal Mainz Archbishop Karl Lehmann, who only a year ago stunned the Vatican by saying the pope should step down if no longer able to lead the church.
Lehmann immediately claimed that the interview was misinterpreted. But the incident, combined with his suggestion that the Vatican should rethink its ban on Communion for divorced Catholics, made many say he never stood a chance of becoming a cardinal.