ROME — Not that Pope Francis probably needs additional accolades, but on Friday he’s set to receive a big one anyway: The prestigious Charlemagne Prize, awarded each year to individuals or institutions for their service to European unification.
Technically, he’ll become the first pontiff to receive the award since it was created in 1950. In 2004 Pope John Paul II received an “extraordinary” edition of the prize, the only one given so far, but the actual award that year went to Irish politician Patrick Cox.
St. John Paul, and now Francis, are the only religious leaders to have received the recognition, even though its origins include a Christian element. Source