Some Papal Facts and Firsts

Standard

The Papal Insignia

The crossed keys symbolise the keys of  Simon Peter.   The keys are gold and silver to represent the power of loosing and binding.   The triple crown represents the pope’s three functions as “supreme pastor”, “supreme teacher” and “supreme priest”.   The gold cross on a crown surmounting the tiara symbolizes the sovereignty of Jesus.

The Pope holds the office and jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, who presides over the central government of the Roman Catholic Church.

The term Pope was orginally applied to all the bishops in the West and also used to describe the patriarch of Alexandria, who still retains the title.

In 1073 Pope Gregory VII restricted the use of the title “Pope” to the Bishop of Rome

There have been 266 (possibly 267 read on) Popes

 

St. Peter

Peter was allegedly the first Pope, at least according to Catholic tradition, as well as the one who brought Christianity to Rome

All the evidence indicates; however, that Christianity came to Rome well before he would have and even once there he did not serve as bishop or any sort of leader

 

St. Sixtus I (Xystus)

Pope 115 thru 125

The first known Pope to have also been the son of a priest

During this time period there was no requirement that priests be celibate

St. Victor I

Pope 189 thru 199

First African Pope.  First Pope to attempt to exert authority outside Rome and neighboring communities

He threatened excommunication for anyone who refused to celebrate Easter on Sunday

St. Pontain

Pope 230 thru 235

First Pope to resign his office.  Yes there have been seven Popes to resign the office

Pope Gregory XII was the last Pope to resign in 1417

St. Innocent

Pope 401 thru 417

The first Pope whose father was also a Pope, Anastasius I

Anastasius was married prior to entering the priesthood, had Anastasius’ marriage not been valid, Innocent would have been an illegitimate child and therefore been ineligible for the priesthood

St. Gelasius

Pope 492 thru 496

First Pope to use the title “Vicar of Christ”

Last Pope of African descent

Anastasio II

Pope 496 thru 498

First Pope not to become a Saint

Boniface II

Pope 530 thru 532

First Pope with German Heritage

John II

Pope 533 thru 535

First Pope to adopt a new name when elected.

His given name was Mercurius, a pagan god

St. Silverius

Pope 536 thru 537

First Pope who was subdeacon at the time of his election

Second Pope whose father was also a Pope (Hormisdas)

Pelagius

Pope 556 thru 561

First Pope not actually elected at all – he was appointed by Emperor Justinian

John IV

Pope 640 thru 642

First and Only Pope from Dalmatia

St. Paul I

Pope 757 thru 767

First Pope who succeeded his own brother, Stephen III

Stephen IV

Pope 767 thru 772

First Pope who declared that the laity could not have any voice in the election of Popes anymore

Adrian I

Pope 772 thru 795

Oldest Person EVER elected Pope

Pope Joan  yesssssssss Joan not John

Pope 855 thru 858

First and only female Pope

“John Anglicus, born at Mainz, was Pope for two years, seven months and four days, and died in Rome, after which there was a vacancy in the Papacy of one month.   It is claimed that this John was a woman, who as a girl had been led to Athens dressed in the clothes of a man by a certain lover of hers.   There she became proficient in a diversity of branches of knowledge, until she had no equal, and, afterward in Rome, she taught the liberal arts and had great masters among her students and audience.   A high opinion of her life and learning arose in the city; and she was chosen for Pope. While Pope, however, she became pregnant by her companion.   Through ignorance of the exact time when the birth was expected, she was delivered of a child while in procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Lateran, in a lane once named Via Sacra (the sacred way) but now known as the “shunned street” between the Colisseum and Basilica di San Clemente.   After her death, it is said she was buried in that same place.   The Lord Pope always turns aside from the street, and it is believed by many that this is done because of abhorrence of the event.   Nor is she placed on the list of the Holy Pontiffs, both because of her female sex and on account of the foulness of the matter.”

from Martin of Opava’s ”Chronicon Pontificum et Imperatorum”

Adrian II

Pope 867 thru 872

Last married Pope – his wife Setphania and his daughter lived in the Vatican Palace with him

John VIII

Pope 872 thru 882

First Pope to be assassinated : First he was poisoned and then beaten to death, by a relative who wanted his possessions

Boniface VI

Pope 896

When he was elected he had already been defrocked twice because of immoral behavior

Stephen VII

Pope 896 thru 897

Had the body of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, dug up and placed on trial

Upon finding Formosus guilty Stephen had his Papal robes removed and the two fingers (used for the blessing) removed from his right hand

The body was thrown in the Tiber River

After the trial public opinion turned against Stephen and the was overthrown and strangled to death

Sergius III

Pope 904 thru 911

Sergius ordered the death of his predecessor, Pope Leo and the antipope Christopher

John XI

Pope 931 thru 935

First (and presumably only) Pope who was the illegitimate son of a previous Pope (Sergius III)

John XII

Pope 955 thru 963

First and only teenager elected Pope

Was 18 years old at his election and was of such a sex fiend that the Papal Palace became known as a brothel

He is known to have had massive orgies and took particular pleasure in defiling holy sites, like the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Leo VIII

Pope 963 thru 964

First Pope who was a layman at the time of his election

John XV

Pope 985 thru 996

First Pope to canonize a saint – Ulrich of Augsburd  in 993

Gregory V

Pope 996 thru 999

First German Born Pope

Sylvester II

Pope 999 thru 1003

First French Pope

Benedict IX

Most Confusing Pontificate in History

He served as Pope three times

He was elected, ejected, returned, abdicated, deposed, returned again, ejected again and eventually excommunicated

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this quick looks at Papal Firsts

Should you be interested in more Papal History, here are some interesting resources:

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/most-awful/popes-cadaver-synod.php?page=2

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/doubleissue/mysteries/pope.htm

http://www.funtrivia.com/en/Religion/Popes-17490.html

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

 

16 responses »

  1. Interesting post! I love the tidbits, the art and the shoes, of course. One of my favorite spots on the planet is the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. The view is spectacular. I think seven Popes resided there. The bridge is also amazing! T. (Say, are you researching for an upcoming trip?!)

    • Thank you. I find the history of our planets old institutions extremely facinating. I have a wonderful collection of Catholica, including the papal crown of Pius III and a solid gold monstrance from the 1400s and many, many chalices and even a tabernacle door built into my wine cellar! Okay, perhaps I am obsessed.

    • I have read all the historical accounts of Pope Joan and it the documentation would indicate that her existance was a very strong possibility. Yes, as knowledge changes the morals change. I feel we are in one of those very critical times now, with the rapid advancement of technology, laws and morals are trying to adapt.

  2. Pingback: Pope compares disobedient Catholics to Judas « SILENT VOICE

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