Saturday, April 23, 2005


In honor of JPII and the new BXVI, here's some Pope dope.

Official Title
"Pope" is an informal title; the full title is "Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God." Addresses to the Pope are styled to "His Holiness."

Longest Reigning Popes
  1. St. Peter (30 to AD 64/67): 34 or 37 years
  2. Bl. Pius IX (1846 - 1878): 31 years, 7 months and 23 days (11,560 days).
  3. John Paul II (1978 - 2005): 26 years, 5 months and 17 days (9,665 days).
  4. Leo XIII (1878 - 1903): 25 years, 4 months and 29 days (9,280 days).
  5. Pius VI (1775 - 1799): 24 years, 6 months and 14 days (8,962 days).
The ambiguity surrounding Peter's papacy stems from the uncertainty in the year of his death. Additionally, he was officially Bishop of Rome for only 25 years, but his papacy is considered to start upon Jesus' decision to name him to the position.

Shortest Reigning Popes
  1. Urban VII (September 15September 27, 1590): reigned for 13 calendar days
  2. Boniface VI (April, 896): reigned for 16 calendar days
  3. Celestine IV (October 25November 10, 1241): reigned for 17 calendar days
  4. Sisinnius (January 15February 4, 708): reigned for 21 calendar days
  5. Theodore II (December, 897): reigned for 21 calendar days
Note: Stephen II died three days after his election, but he was never consecrated as Pope, so he was never an offical pope. This has caused confusion as to the naming of the Stephens.

Years with Multiple Popes
In 1276, there were four popes: Pope Gregory X, Pope Innocent V, Pope Adrian V, and Pope John XXI. There have been many years with three popes: 752, 827, 896, 897, 928, 965, 1003, 1046, 1187, 1555, 1590, 1605, and 1978.

Papal Names
52 Papal names have been chosen. Until 1978, when John Paul I chose his name, Lando (913) was the last Pope to have a unique name; Lando is also considered to be the last pope to use his birth name as Pope. John II (532-535) was the first Pope to adopt a new name upon ascension to the papacy.

Papal Myths
Pope Joan, the female Pope: Rumor has it she was outed as a woman after giving birth during a procession. Sadly, however, there has never been a woman Pope.
Papal Crown: Some circles believe that the phrase Vicarius Filii Dei appears on the side of the papal crown. After converting the appropriate letters to Roman numerals and counting the "u" as a "v", one can add the numbers to get 666 -- thus signifying the Pope as the anti-Christ. However, nothing like this phrase appears on the crown, and none of the numbers on the actual crown add up to 666.

Random Facts
Youngest Pope: Leo X, assumed papacy at the age of 37.
Anti-Popes: There have been 52 anti-popes: 43 before 1500 and 9 since the adoption of the Novus Ordo Missae in lieu of the Tridentine Latin Mass. The current anti-Pope is Lucian Pulvermacher, who resides in Montana.


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