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
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
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
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
Pope 492 thru 496
First Pope to use the title “Vicar of Christ”
Last Pope of African descent
Pope 496 thru 498
First Pope not to become a Saint
Pope 530 thru 532
First Pope with German Heritage
Pope 533 thru 535
First Pope to adopt a new name when elected.
His given name was Mercurius, a pagan god
Pope 536 thru 537
First Pope who was subdeacon at the time of his election
Second Pope whose father was also a Pope (Hormisdas)
Pope 556 thru 561
First Pope not actually elected at all – he was appointed by Emperor Justinian
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
Pope 767 thru 772
First Pope who declared that the laity could not have any voice in the election of Popes anymore
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”
Pope 867 thru 872
Last married Pope – his wife Setphania and his daughter lived in the Vatican Palace with him
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
When he was elected he had already been defrocked twice because of immoral behavior
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
Pope 904 thru 911
Sergius ordered the death of his predecessor, Pope Leo and the antipope Christopher
Pope 931 thru 935
First (and presumably only) Pope who was the illegitimate son of a previous Pope (Sergius III)
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
Pope 963 thru 964
First Pope who was a layman at the time of his election
Pope 985 thru 996
First Pope to canonize a saint – Ulrich of Augsburd in 993
Pope 996 thru 999
First German Born Pope
Pope 999 thru 1003
First French Pope
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:
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?!)
Yes, my dear I am researching for an upcoming trip, perhaps Avignon should be on the agenda!
In seconds, I fell in love with the place. I’d add it to your list. Great film festival, too. T. (I love the bridge.)
We are going to be in Marseille, so we have now planned a side trip to Avignon and see this bridge! Thank you so very much for the information! Vous êtes une si magnifique personne. J’apprécie ainsi vous connaître.
Just spent the evening with a wonderful friend who has visited Avignon and agrees with you that ………….THIS is a must visit!
As always – thank you for this information. I know you are preparing for your trip which will be fun and intellectual. Cheers!
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 wonder then if there really was a female pope?! Interesting to see how people’s ideas of right and wrong change over time.
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.
Mercy at the contradictions. Papal Peyton Place. Fascinating. Ironic. Salacious. Your iconoclast friend. Mary R
Isn’t it FUN!!!
Cool! Where do you get all this information from!!!?
I studied to be a Catholic Priest for some years and have always been fascinated by the history of the Church…………
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