Mgr Mauro Longhi said the former pontiff foresaw a 'mortal wound' to the Church in the third millennium

Pope John Paul II had a prophetic vision of an “Islamist invasion” of Europe, a former confidant has claimed.

Mgr Mauro Longhi, who often accompanied the former Pope on hiking trips while still a student, said St John Paul was a mystic who “dialogued” with Our Lady and had prophetic visions.

He made the remarks during a lecture at the Hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul in Bienno, northern Italy, which has been posted on YouTube.

During one meeting in 1992, Mgr Longhi says, John Paul II told of a disturbing vision he had had about the future of Europe.

“The Pope told me: ‘Tell this to those whom you will meet in the Church of the third millennium. I see the Church afflicted by a mortal wound. More profound, more painful than those of this millennium,’ referring to Communism and Nazi totalitarianism. ‘It is called Islamism. They will invade Europe. I have seen the hordes come from the West to the East,’ and then told to me each country one by one: from Morocco to Libya to Egypt, and so on till the East.

“The Holy Father added: ‘They will invade Europe, Europe will be like a basement, old relics, shadows, cobwebs. Family heirlooms. You, the Church of the third millennium, must contain the invasion. Not with armies, armies will not be enough, but with your faith, lived with integrity.”

Mgr Longhi accompanied Pope John Paul II on hiking and skiing trips from 1985 until he was ordained 10 years later. He said the Pope would leave Rome in a modest car, so as not to attract attention, and stay at an Opus Dei home in the mountains in Abruzzo.

At night, the Pope would often kneel before the Tabernacle in the chapel of the building, conversing “at times even animatedly” with the Lord.

Mgr Longhi also said that Cardinal Andrzej Deskur, one of John Paul II’s closest friends, told him the pontiff had the “gift of visions”. “He speaks to God Incarnate, Jesus; he sees His face and he sees also the face of His mother,” the cardinal said.

Pope John Paul II is well-known for promoting inter-faith dialogue between Catholics and Muslims, most famously becoming the first Pope to set foot inside a mosque in 2001.

However, in his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia in Europa, the former pontiff wrote that dialogue with Islam “needs to be conducted prudently, with clear ideas about possibilities and limits, and with confidence in God’s saving plan for all his children.”

“It is also necessary to take into account the notable gap between European culture, with its profound Christian roots, and Muslim thought,” he added.