5 Interesting Popes throughout History

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Because we’re all about the Holy Father this week, here are some characters from history. This is a interesting guide for your culture.

The first pope and founder of the Roman Catholic Church. He held the role as pontificate from AD 33-64/67 and was appointed by Christ when he gave him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 16:18-19).

Pope Joan

Is a legendary female who allegedly lead the Papacy for a few years during the Middle Ages. The story goes that she disguised herself as a man and made her way up the ranks to eventually become pope. One day whilst riding a horse, she gave birth to a child. At which point she was stoned to death.

Pope Formosus

Had been excommunicated 20 years before his reign, but was absolved before becoming pope. After his death, his successor, Boniface, had his body exhumed, clad in papal vestments and held on trial for being unworthy of the papacy.

All of his papal edicts were deemed invalid, the fingers he used to make sacraments were ripped off, and he was tossed into the Tiber River.

Pope Benedict IX

Reigned as pope on three separate occasions, beginning in 1032. He reportedly lead an extremely dissolute life and in 1044 Rome elected an antipope to replace him.

Benedict IX drove out the antipope, but then stepped down after selling his position to Gregory VI. Two short years later he seized the office once again but was driven out by German troops.

Pope Gregory XII

Was the last pope to abdicate before Benedict XVI. He was originally elected to end the schism that occurred after the death of Pope Innocent VII. Gregory XII was one of three popes to rule at the time, and the ensuing chaos must have convinced him it was time to quit.