Popes Through History

From BelieveTheSign

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Irenaeus commended the Church at Rome for their Apostolic succession, which is an unbroken line of Bishops in the Churches since the apostles. Irenaeus, who was only the third from the Apostles (through Polycarp to John), wrote:

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority,(3) that is, the faithful every-where, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those faithful men who exist everywhere.

Another translation of the last statement of this is:

"On account of the chief magistracy [of the empire], the faithful from all parts, representing every Church, are obliged to resort to Rome, and there to come together; so that [it is the distinction of this Church that], in it, the tradition of the apostles has been preserved by Christians gathered together out of all the Churches."

Despite this apostolic succession, which Irenaeus reckoned was present in most churches, Irenaeus himself traveled to Rome to rebuke two Bishops during his lifetime (much like Paul did to Peter) and both submitted to his rebuke.

Heresies arise within established Churches when they do not take correction. This history shows how the heart of the Church at Rome was lost to sin, while retaining its pious exterior. Apostolic succession is no replacement for repentance and conversion.

67 A.D. to 199 A.D.

Due to martyrdom, exile, and persecutions in Rome, there was no pastor in this Church in 116 A.D.

Early Bishops of Rome [1]
Name Start End Significant activity
Linus 67 79 Taught that women should cover their heads.
Anacletus 79 88 Ordained a number of priests
Clement I 88 98 Wrote a letter to the Corinthians
Evaristus 98 105 None known
Alexander I 105 115 None known
Sixtus 117 126 Decreed that
  • Only ministers can touch the holy vessels,
  • Bishops returning from visiting Rome should not be accepted without a letter,
  • Priests should recite the Sanctus (a song) with the people.
Telesphorus 126 137 Started to celebrate Easter on the Sunday after Passover
Hyginus 138 140 Defined the grades of ecclesiastical hierarchy
Pius 140 154 None known
Anicetus 154 167 Moderately condemned the heresy of Montanism, Gnosticism and Marcionism. Met with Polycarp and accepted that the date of the celebration of Easter should be decided by churches individually.
Soter 167 174 Decreed that marriage is only valid if blessed by a priest.
Eleuterus 174 189 Decree that no kind of food should be despised by Christians. Mild response to Montanism
Victor I 189 199 From Africa, he (1) started mass in latin, and (2) excommunicated himself from all other churches for not agreeing with him on the date of Easter. After a rebuke from Irenaeus, he resumed this fellowship.

200 A.D. to 400 A.D.

Many of the following people only served as Bishop in Rome for a very short period. This is due to the intense persecution from the Roman Empire, and then religious interest by the Roman Empire in the Christian Church. Eusebius, for example, was pastor of Rome for one day. Anastasius I became the first Bishop to use the title "Pope" in 400 A.D.

Early Bishops of Rome [2]
Name Start End Significant activity
Zephyrinus 199 217 Decreed that excommunicated sinners could be absolved through pennance. Hippolytus (who claimed to be a disciple of Irenaeus) officially broke with the Church of Rome under Zphyrinus, and is often called the first antipope.
Callixtus 217 222 Established the practice of the absolution of all repented sins. Was similar to Irenaeus in his doctrine of the Godhead, and was rebuked by Hippolytus and Tertullian, who were both early Trinitarians, for his doctrine and morals.
Urban 1 222 230 None known
Pontian 230 235 Died in exile with Hippolytus.
Anterus 235 236 None known
Fabian 236 250 Sent men to evangelize Gaul after the persecutions of Emperor Decius had reduced the Christian population (Gaul was the area where Irenaeus had ministered).
Cornelius 250 253 Little known, Excommunicated Novation.
Lucius 1 253 254 Known for relaxed view on restoration of backsliders
Stephen 1 254 257 Declared that those baptised in splinter churches do not need rebaptism
Sixtus II 257 258 Little known.
Dionysius 259 268 Reorganized Roman Church, assisted church in Cappadocia, and demanded doctrine on Godhead from the church in Alexandria
Felix I 269 274 Wrote a letter to Alexandrian church in support of the Trinity and Incarnation.
Eutychian 275 283 Little known.
Caius 283 296 Little known.
Marcellinus 296 304 Recanted Christianity and sacrificed to idols at Emperor Diocletian's persecution, but later recanted and was martyred.
Marcellus I 308 309 Required severe penance for those that backslid during Diocletian's persecution, and was ousted by Emperor Maxentius because of the resulting inter-christian feuds.
Eusebius 309 309 Lasted as Bishop for one day. Was ousted by Empereor Maxentius for not stopping the inter-Christian riots by admitting the backslidden without pennance.
Miltiades 310 314 Little known.
Silvester I 314 335 Present at the Council of Nicea, gave gifts to Constantine I, condemned Arianism.
Mark 336 336 Little known, died of natural causes.
Julius I 337 352 Involved in Arian controversy, and deposition of Athanasius. Wrote "Can you be ignorant, that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined" (Epistle of Julius to Antioch, c. xxii).
Liberius 352 366 Admitted to membership the more moderate Arians
Damasus I 366 383 Supporters killed opposing deacon. Accused of Murder and adultery. Established the Vulgate (latin translation of the Bible), and set the modern Catholic Canon.
Siricius 384 399 Protested the death sentence of Priscillian, along with Martin of Tours, by Emperor Magnus Maximus as requested by Bishops from Hispania.
Anastasius I 399 401 FIRST BISHOP TO USE THE TITLE OF POPE. Condemned writings of Origen

400 A.D. to 600 A.D.

Early Bishops of Rome [3]
Name Start End Significant activity
Innocent I 402 417 Expanded Rome's authority as the universal settler of disputes
Zosimus 417 418 Fought to establish Rome's authority. Decreed on the blessing of Easter candles.
Boniface I 418 422 Defended the rights of the Pope
Celestine I 422 432 Did not tolerate any deviation from his predecessor's decrees.
Sixtus III 432 440 Dedicated the Basilica "Santa Maria Maggiore" to Mary, the Mother of God. (Official title from Council of Ephesus in 431)
Leo I 440 461 Convinced Attila the Hun not to sack Rome. Increased and extended Papal Authority over various areas (i.e. Gaul), "What Leo believes we all believe, anathema to him who believes anything else. Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo."
Hilarius 461 468 Fought to establish Rome's authority, and contended with Emperor Anthemius to not allow other churches in Rome.
Simplicius 468 483 Fought heresy and established the Pope's powers.
Felix II 483 492 Fought against heretics and anyone exercising Rome's authority
Gelasius I 492 496 Prolific writer on the Primacy of the Pope. Replaced the pagan festival of fertility and purification (February), with the celebration of the Virgin Mary. Fought with eastern Church over God having two divine natures (Rome's view) vs. one divine nature (Eastern view).
Anastasius II 496 498 Endeavoured to reconcile with the eastern Church, and is vilified by subsequent Popes for doing this.
Symmachus 498 514 Accused by Senator Festus of fornication, decreed to be above reproach by human court, but not cleared of charges.
Hormisdas 514 523 Ended the schism with the eastern Churches, with Rome victorious
John I 523 526 Put in prison by Theodoric the Great for not listening to him.
Felix IV 526 530 The choice of Tehodoric the Great for Pope. Defined church teaching on grace and free-will.
Boniface II 530 532 Little known
John II 533 535 First pope to adopt another name. Dealt with the election process of Popes.
Agapetus I 535 536 Secured a written declaration of faith from Eastern Emperor Justinian I.
Silverius 536 537 Opposed the Monophysite heresy. Deposed on account of treason.
Vigilius 537 555 Silverius put in his keeping, where he soon died. Fought hard against Monophysitism, and eventually fled Rome when it was attacked by the Goths.
Pelagius I 556 561 Accepted Emperor Justinians "three chapters" reconciliation of monophysitism, which subsequent Popes tried to reverse. Was in Rome when sacked by Totila the Goth.
John III 561 574 Little known
Benedict I 575 579 Election confirmed by the Byzantium emperor. Little known
Pelagius II 579 590 Promoted the celibacy of the clergy
Gregory I 590 604 Converted the Anglo-Saxon kings (through arranged marriages) to counter the spread of Christianity from Ireland, which had developed independently from Rome.

600 A.D. to 800 A.D.

Bishops of Rome during the Dark Ages
Name Start End Significant activity
Sabinian 604 606 Little known, started the ringing of Bells at the Eucharist.
Boniface III 607 607 Received a decree from the Emperor Phocas that the Bishop of Rome was the universal bishop.
Boniface IV 608 615 Converted the Pantheon (temple to Jupiter, Venus, and Mars) was rededicated as a church to the Virgin Mary and martyrs.
Adeodatus I 615 618 First Pope to use a seal.
Boniface V 619 625 Christianized England.
Honorius I 625 638 Agreed with the eastern concept of Monothelitism, and was denounced by subsequent popes as a result.
Severinus 640 640 Removed from office by Emperor Heraclius for not signing a Monothelite profession of faith.
John IV 640 642 Wrote to North Ireland about the keeping of Easter. Got Emperor Heraclius to disown Monothelitism.
Theodore I 642 649 Fought against the Monothelites.
Martin I 649 655 Published a decree against Monothelitism, and was arrested by Emperor Constans II for this and banished.
Eugene I 654 657 Fought with Constans agains Monothelitism, saved from banishment by the advance of Muslisms against Rhodes.
Vitalian 657 672 Fought with Constans agains Monothelitism, increased Rome's control over the Church in England
Adeodatus II 672 676 Little known
Donus 676 678 Paved the enclosure at St. Peter's Bascillica, and restored other churches
Agatho 678 681 Healed the Monothelite schism with the east (Rome won) and was the first pope to take the Papal Oath.
Leo II 682 683 Confirmed the results of the 6th eccumenical council to the Bishops of the west.
Various 684 715 Benedict II (684-685), John V (685 - 686), Conon (686 - 687), Sergius I (687 - 701), John VI (701 - 705), John VII (705 - 707), Sisinnius (708 - 708), Constantine (708 - 715)
Gregory II 716 731 Paid off the Lormbards (German warriors) with 30 pounds of gold in return for - more |- missionaries in Germany, and more Papal authority in England and Ireland. Excommunicated Byzantine emperor Leo III.
Gregory III 731 741 Promoted the church in Northern Europe, condemned the destruction of Icons.
Zachary 741 752 Built a church over the temple of Minerva, and was involved in various French/Germanic politics
Stephen II 752 757 Consecrated Pippin the younger as king of France and protector of the church of Rome. Pippin conquered territory from the Lombards in return.
Paul I 757 767 Involved in double dealing, politics, and lived in fear of an invasion from Greece.
Stephen III 767 772 Renewed allegiance with the Lombards
Adrian I 772 795 Good relations with Charlemagne, who conquered the Lombards.


800 A.D. to 1000 A.D.

Bishops of Rome during the Dark Ages
Name Start End Significant activity
Leo III 795 816 Accused of Perjury and and adultery, Protected by Charlemagne, reinstated as Pope, and crowned Charlemagne the Emperor of the Roman Empire. PAPAL ROME.
Stephen IV 816 817 Ordered the Roman people to swear fidelity to Louis the Pious.
Paschal I 817 824 Commisioned missionaries to Scandinavia and the Danes. Two papal officials testifying against the pope were mysteriously blinded and beheaded.
Eugene II 824 827 Frankish nobles granted right to elect Pope. Greek emperor Michael II persecutes image-worshipers (Catholics). Supported learning and caring for the poor.
Valentine 827 827 Little known
Gregory IV 827 844 Insisted on the supremacy of St. Peter's successor over the Roman Emperor after Charlemagne's children had a feud. Promoted All Saints day.
Sergius II 844 847 Negotiated with Roman Emperor, Saracens (Muslims) sacked Rome. Accused of bribery to establish church officials.
Leo IV 847 855 Fought against the Muslims, fortified Rome.
Benedict III 855 858 Alfred the Great visited Rome (King of England) and gives golden chalice to pope. Deals with Kings of France.
Nicholas I 858 867 Consolidated Papal Power,
Adrian II 867 872 Wife and daughter assassinated after election. Dealt with Papal power over eastern churches.
John VIII 872 882 Forced to pay tribute to the Saracenes, Allowed use of Slavonic language in German churches.
Various 882 896 Marinus I (882 - 884), Adrian III (884 - 885), Stephen V (885 - 891), Formosus (891 - 896), Boniface VI (896 - 896)
Stephen VI 896 897 Exhumed the body of Formosus, dressed it in papal garments, and all acts disanulled by Stephen VI, clothed in lay garments and buried body. Strangled for this "Cadaver Synod".
Romanus 897 897 Elected and Deposed.
Theodore II 897 897 Recovered body of Pope Formosus. Pope for 20 days.
John IX 898 900 Involved in politics.
Benedict IV 900 903 Crowned Leo of Provence as Holy Roman Emperor
Leo V 903 903 Deposed and Murdered
Sergius III 904 911 Papacy a pawn of warring factions. Pornocracy (rule of Harlots from 904-963). Controlled by families under the influence of women. Marozia was the concubine of Pope Sergius III and the mother of Pope John XI. She was also accused of arranging the murder of Pope John X. First Pope depicted wearing Papal Tiara.
Anastasius III 911 913 Illigitimate son of Sergius III. Evangelized Normandy.
Lando 913 914 Little known. Last to use original name.
John X 914 928 Favorite of Theodora, wife of Theophylact. Led italian princes into battle against the Saracens, won. Crowned Berenger Roman Emperor.
Leo VI 928 928 Little known
Stephen VII 928 931 Brief reign, elected by Marozia (daughter of Theodora) until her son could be elected pope. Was then assassinated.
John XI 931 935 Elected by Marozia (mother) until she was overthrown by his younger brother, who stripped Rome of all non-spiritual power.
Leo VII 936 939 Elected by Alberic II, involved in Italian politics, elected Frederic of Mainz as reformer in Germany who was given authority to drive out the Jews who refused to be baptized.
Stephen VIII 939 942 Little known
Marinus II 942 946 Concentrated on administration
Agapetus II 946 955 Appealed to Otto the Great to attack Rome to break the rule of Alberic II.
John XII 955 964 A descendent of Charlemagne. Known for adultery (with neice, father's concubine, widows). Castrated and killed opponent, made a toast to the devil. Granted imperial crown to Otto the great. Said to have been murdered by a jealous husband.
Benedict V 964 964 Elected and Deposed.
Leo VIII 963 965 Set as pope by Otto the great (who had deposed John XII unsucessfully). Widely rumored to have died during fornication.
John XIII 965 972 Arranged marriace of Otto II to Neice of Byzantine emperor to reconcile eastern and western churches. Reported to have been killed by jealous husband.
Benedict VI 973 974 Set as pope by Otto I, and strangled after Otto's death, before Otto II could come to his rescue.
Benedict VII 974 983 Quite rule, related to Alberic II
John XIV 983 984 Elected and put in prison by Antipope Boniface VII (where he died) on the death of Otto II (Otto III was 3 years old).
John XV 985 996 Boniface VII only ruled for 4 months. Known for bribery, influence held in check by Empress Theophano
Gregory V 996 999 Grandson of Otto I, Pope at 24. Crowned Otto III Emperor. Otto and Gregory publicly mutilated antipope Cresentius II. Died suddenly.


1000 A.D. to 1200 A.D.

Bishops of Rome during the Dark Ages
Name Start End Significant activity
Silvester II 999 1003 French Pope who introduced Arab arithmatic and Astrology. Was a scientist (thought to dabble with occult), worked against concubiny in the clergy.
John XVII 1003 1003 Little known
John XVIII 1004 1009 Dealt with administration, mission to Slavs, raids of Saracenes. Ultimately abdicated. Puppet of Crescentius III, descendant of Theodora.
Sergius IV 1009 1012 Puppet of Crescentius III, descendant of Theodora. Wrote Papal Bull calling for Islam to be removed from the Holy Land.
Benedict VIII 1012 1024 Descendant of Theophylact. Crowned Henry II of Germany Emperor. Allied with Normans and defeated Saracenes, reconquered south-Italian vassel states that had defected to Greek rule.
John XIX 1024 1032 Not previously a clergymember. Accepted bribe to declare Patriarch of Constantinople an ecumenical bishop. Involved in politics, including with Poland.
Benedict IX 1032 1044 Served as Pope 3 times. Was between 12 - 20 when elected Pope, son of Alberic III. Accused of Homosexuality and Beastiality, rape, adultery, and murders. Abdictated for money.
Silvester III 1045 1045 Deposed for bribing way into election
Benedict IX 1045 1045 Served as Pope 3 times. Sold position to godfather in order to marry.
Gregory VI 1045 1046 Godfather of Benedict IX. Resigned for purchasing the papacy.
Benedict IX 1047 1048 Served as Pope 3 times. Driven out by Damasius II and abdicated again.
Clement II 1046 1047 Crowned Henry III as Holy Roman Emperor. Poisoned by lead sugar. Decreed against purchasing the pontificate.
Damasus II 1048 1048 Possibly died of poison or malaria.
Leo IX 1049 1054 Excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, splitting the easter and western churches (Schism of 1054). Favoured democracy for election. Dealt with marriage of the clergy and bribery. Defeated in battle against the Normans,
Victor II 1055 1057 Became advisor to Henry IV (infant) and widown empress Agnes, giving him great power.
Stephen IX 1057 1058 Supported clerical celibacy.
Nicholas II 1059 1061 Regulated future elections to the Papacy. Allied with Normans in Italy.
Alexander II 1061 1073 Supported clerical celibacy. Declared that the conversion of jews should not be by force.
Gregory VII 1073 1085 Involved in politics with Henry IV. Was deposed and exiled after instituting reforms.
Victor III 1086 1087 Fought to remain in power. Issue was lay investiture (emperor or pope appointing officials.
Urban II 1088 1099 Started the first crusade, and set up the royal court to run the church. Started long-term conversion of Sicily. Various politics and arranged marriages of kings.
Paschal II 1099 1118 Granted investiture to Henry V after imprisonment, various infighting with emperor after death of countess Matilda, an ally.
Gelasius II 1118 1119 Established a staff for the papacy. More fighting with Henry V
Calixtus II 1119 1124 Settled investiture controversy (won). Member of aristocracy. Renewed Papal power. Renewed indulgences for crusaders.
Honorius II 1124 1130 Sanctioned the Knights Templar. More dealings with Henry V
Innocent II 1130 1143 Fights with antipope, finally won.
Celestine II 1143 1144 Absolution of Louis VII of France.
Lucius II 1144 1145 Fought revolution in Rome that wanted to deprive Papal authority of power. Died in battle.
Eugene III 1145 1153 Fought to regain Papal authority in Rome, not successful.
Anastasius IV 1153 1154 Made peace with various political parties.
Adrian IV 1154 1159 An Englishman. Executed opposition leader. Byzantine attack in south Italy and Allied with Pope against Normans. Granted dominion over Ireland to Englishman Henry II. Henry II invaded Ireland, and imposed a tax payable to Rome, and imposed feudal system.
Alexander III 1159 1181 Fights with antipopes, excommunicating, and re-admitting into memberships. (Henry II of England, William I of Scotland)
Lucius III 1181 1185 Started the Inquisition to oppose the Cathars, Paterines, Waldensians, and Arnoldists. Disputed with Emperor Frederick over estate of Matilda of Tuscany.
Urban III 1185 1187 Refused to crown Prince Henry, who cooperated with the rebel senate in Rome. Political disputes.
Gregory VIII 1187 1187 little known
Clement III 1187 1191 Resolved political disputes with citizens of Rome, incited the third Crusade, made the Scottish church report directly to Rome.
Celestine III 1191 1198 Confirmed the Teutonic order of knights. Crowned, then excommunicated Henry VI (Emperor)


1200 A.D. to 1400 A.D.

Bishops of Rome during the Dark Ages
Name Start End Significant activity
Innocent III 1198 1216 Used Papal troops to reestablish Papal authority after the death of Henry VI. Crowned Otto IV as Emperor, who promised to persecute heresy. Started the Albigensian Crusade. Supported Franciscans and Dominicans. Incited fourth Crusade. Required Jews to wear distinctive clothing.
Honorius III 1216 1227 Started 5th Crusade. Continued to persecute heresies. Wrote a catalogue of fallen angels and instruction on the art of demonology.
Gregory IX 1227 1241 Various politics with Frederick II (Emperor), Endorsed the northern Crusade and conquest of Russia. Founded Papal legal theory
Celestine IV 1241 1241 Little known. (17 days in office)
Innocent IV 1243 1254 Fought with Frederick II over Papal rights. Excommunicated and reinstated based on desire to expand Papal territory. Acknowledged the right of the state to punish heretics convicted of heresy.
Alexander IV 1254 1261 Attempted to unite with Eastern orthodoxy, established the inquistion in France, Crusade against the Tatars
Urban IV 1261 1264 Instituted festival of Corpus Christi, Involved in politics.
Clement IV 1265 1268 Continued papal political war against the Hohenstaufen dynasty in Sicily. Killed the heir in battle.
Gregory X 1271 1276 The Visconti Coat of Arms is the image of a large snake devouring a male child feet first. Appealed for Crusades.
Various 1276 1280 Innocent V (1276 - 1276), Adrian V (1276 - 1276), John XXI (1276 - 1277), Nicholas III (1277 - 1280)
Martin IV 1281 1285 Appointed Charles of Anjou as Roman Senator, and excommunicated Byzantine emperor. Charles was overthrown, and Martin IV left Rome. Fond of wine.
Honorius IV 1285 1287 Fought with Sicily, Consolidated Rome under Papal Rule, Used italian banking houses for collecting papal dues. Furthered the inquistion. Marked the "Apostolic Brethren" as heretics.
Nicholas IV 1288 1292 Loved the Church, Crusades, and extermination of Heresy. Supported missionaries amoung the Chinese. Granted wealth to Cardinals.
Celestine V 1294 1294 Not much, abdicated.
Boniface VIII 1294 1303 "Imprisoned Celestine V (who died in prison). Declared that it "is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff". This led to feuds with certain kings (Philip IV of france, and Albert I of Hapsburg). Philip had him beaten, after which he died a month later. Also presumed to have said (Based on a posthumus investigation held from 1303-1311 republished by J. Coste) that The Christian religion is a human invention like the faith of the Jews and the Arabs; The dead will rise just as little as my horse which died yesterday; Mary, when she bore Christ, was just as little a virgin as my own mother when she gave birth to me; Sex and the satisfaction of natural drives is as little a sin as hand washing; Paradise and hell only exist on earth; the healthy, rich and happy people live in the earthly paradise, the poor and the sick are in the earthly hell; The world will exist forever, only we do not; Any religion and especially Christianity does not only contain some truth, but also many errors. The long list of Christian untruth includes trinity, the virgin birth, the godly nature of Jesus, the eucharistic transformation of bread and wine into the body of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.
Benedict XI 1303 1304 8 months, did little.
Clement V 1305 1314 Removed the Papal throne to Avignon, suppressed the Templars as heretics (also for sodomy, but probably as they were a wealthy order). Acted as a French pawn. First Pope to be crowned with Papal tiara. Incited numerous wars.
John XXII 1316 1334 Avignon Rule. Involved in much politics. Unorthodox teachings almost had him considered a heretic by subsequent popes.
Benedict XII 1334 1342 Led inquisition against the Cathars. Carefully documented work and interviews. Theologian. Campaigned against the Immaculate Conception.
Clement VI 1342 1352 Supported indulgences, reigned during the Black Plague. Lived lavishly and He claimed to have "lived as a sinner among sinners",
Innocent VI 1352 1362 didn't do too much
Urban V 1362 1370 Disciplinarian. Enforced a crusade against the Turks.
Gregroy XI 1370 1378 Against heresies and monastic orders. 19 propositions of John Wycliffe condemned in 1377.
Urban VI 1378 1389 Excommunicated by the antipope, called the antichrist. Declared war on antipope.
Boniface IX 1389 1404 Re-established Rome's power. Numerous stuff.


1400 A.D. to 1600 A.D.

Bishops of Rome during the Renaissance
Name Start End Significant activity
Innocent VII 1404 1406 Fled and fought way back into power.
Gregory XII 1406 1415 Fought against two antipopes. Finally ended Western Schism.
Martin V 1417 1431 Abolished the laws against the Jews after they broght him many gifts.
Eugene IV 1431 1447 Signed agreements with the Armenians, Jacobites, Nestorians, and Maronites. Crusade against Turkey defeated. Hated Heresy.
Nicholas V 1447 1455 Legitimized the slave trade of "Saracens, Muslims, pagans and any other unbelievers" to hereditary slavery. Constantiople sacked by Turks.
Callixtus III 1455 1458 Ordered a new trial against Joan of Arc, who was vindicated.
Pius II 1458 1464 Wrote his own life story.
Paul II 1464 1471 Pledged to improve the morals of the Romans, but never did. Loved his own image. Rumors of homosexuality
Sixtus IV 1471 1484 Founded Sistene Chapel. Declared a new crusade. Consented to the Spanish inquisition, instituted the feast of the immaculate conception.
Innocent VIII 1484 1492 Brought measures against witches and magicians in Germany. Supported the Spanish Inquisition. Received Moorish slaves, and redistributed them among roman curia. Received blood transfusions from three boys, all of whom died. Was known to have many children, only two of which publicly declared (others were 'neices and nephews'). (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911)
Alexander VI 1492 1503 Was admired by Niccolo Machiavelli, Received many indulgences. Daughter married lavishly in the Vatican. Had four children by a mistress (three sons and a daughter: Giovanni, Cesare, Goffredo (or Giuffre) and Lucrezia). Son held "banquet of Chestnuts" where 50 prostitutes were invited to entertain the guests. Spent the Vatican's wealth on his family, and increased the Vatican's wealth by indulgences. Son started confiscating posessions by falsly accusing someone and sentencing them to death. Opponents were excommunicated. Left his daughter in charge of the Pope's office while he went to fight the French army, and then arranged her marriage to the son of the Duke of Ferrara. Numerous murders and imprisonments. (Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (1911))
Pius III 1503 1503 26 days as a pope.
Julius II 1503 1513 Founded the Swiss guard. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Formed the Holy League of 1511 and expelled the French from Italy. Was a political and miliatry, rather than a religious leader.
Leo X 1513 1521 Issued Bull against Martin Luther. Ratified the censorship of books by Alexander VI. Involved in much politics and military. Often travelled around Rome lavishly, with a panther and elephant. "Under his pontificate, Christianity assumed a pagan character, which, passing from art into manners, gives to this epoch a strange complexion. Crimes for the moment disappeared, to give place to vices; but to charming vices, vices in good taste, such as those indulged in by Alcibiades and sung by Catullus." (Alexandre Dumas) Assassined various cardinals who opposed his lavish lifestyle.
Adrian VI 1522 1523 Was previously the Inqisitor General of Aragon
Clement VII 1523 1534 An illigitimate child of Giuliano de' Medici. Politics with Rome and Italy and Spain saw the Vatican sacked by a Cardinal. Installed illegitimate son Alessandro as Duke of Florence. Paid not to die after a defeat in battle, and caused the English Schism (and Church of England) after denying Henry VIII's divorce.
Paul III 1534 1549 Elected grandsons as cardinals. Revived the 'Holy Office" of the inquisition.
Julius III 1550 1555 Lived lavishly, possibly scandalous. Chose a 17 year old as a cardinal (who later commited murder and rape). Built a villa lavishly decorated with immodest pagan art.
Marcellus II 1555 1555 22 day rule
Paul IV 1555 1559 "father of the Roman inquisition". Created a Roman Ghetto for Jews and required them to wear distinctive clothing. introduced the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or 'Index of Prohibited Books' to Venice.
Pius IV 1559 1565 Killed nephews of former pope. Formulated the Tridentine Creed. Continued the inquisition.
Pius V 1566 1572 Started reformation of the clergy. Standardized the Holy Mass. Opposed Huguenots. Numerous Bulls. Started wearing white.
Gregory XIII 1572 1585 Produced the Gregorian calendar. Tried to convert England through political and military means. Slaughtered the Heugenots
Sixtus V 1585 1590 Severe. Imposed taxes, imposed order.
Urban VII 1590 1590 Imposed first smoking ban in churches.
Gregory XIV 1590 1591 Freed all Philippine slaves (but not african slaves).
Innocent IX 1591 1591 short rule
Clement VIII 1592 1605 Openly anti-simetic, vigorous law enforcement, established peace through politics.

1600 A.D. to 1800 A.D.

Bishops of Rome during European Colonization
Name Start End Significant activity
Leo XI 1605 1605 short rule
Paul V 1605 1621 Various relations with England, Spain and Japan.
Gregory XV 1621 1623 Wrote against witchcraft.
Urban VIII 1623 1644 Covers part of the 30 years war, last Pope to extend papal territory. Nepotism - helped his family through his office.
Innocent X 1644 1655 Shrewn politician. Encyclopaedia Britannia 9th edition (1880): "Throughout his reign the influence exercised over him by Maidalchini, his deceased brother's wife, was very great, and such as to give rise to gross scandal, for which, however, there appears to have been no adequate ground... The avarice of his female counsellor gave to his reign a tone of oppression and sordid greed which probably it would not otherwise have shown, for personally he was not without noble and reforming impulses." Guido Reni's painting of the Archangel Michael, trampling Satan in which the features of Innocent X are immediately recognized
Alexander VII 1655 1667 Converted Queen Christina of Sweden. Wrote that the statement that "that Christ died, or shed His blood for all men" was heretical.
Clement IX 1667 1669 opened the first public opera house in Rome
Clement X 1670 1676 Increased presence in Canada. Politics with Poland/
Innocent XI 1676 1689 Turned deficit by living frugally.
Alexander VIII 1689 1691 Lowered taxes to subsidize other kingdom's efforts against the turks.
Innocent XII 1691 1700 Ruled against Nepotism and simony.
Clement XI 1700 1721 Fought against heresies
Innocent XIII 1721 1724 Stopped admission to the Jesuits, Supported James III (the pretender)
Benedict XIII 1724 1730 Tried to stop lavish lifestyles of clergy members
Clement XII 1730 1740 Improved papal finances by reinstating the public lottery. Decreed against the freemasons, named 8 year old as a cardinal.
Benedict XIV 1740 1758 Ruled on ancestor worship vs. veneration of saints, and the name of God in Chinese.
Clement XIII 1758 1769 Put fig leaves on all the sculpures in the vatican. Practiced nepotism. Jesuits expelled from Spain and portugal.
Clement XIV 1769 1774 Supressed the Jesuits.
Pius VI 1775 1799 French Revolution. Was finally taken captive and died in French custody. Effigy burnt in France.

1800 A.D. to Present

Bishops of Rome in Recent History
Name Start End Significant activity
Pius VII 1800 1823 Wore a Paper-mache tierra on coronation, as the original was in french hands. In french control for 6 years, Napoleon defeated. Revived the inquisition.
Leo XII 1823 1829 Very strict ruler. Ruled Jews must sell property and wear distincitive clothing. Prohibited vaccinations.
Pius VIII 1829 1830 Did little.
Gregory XVI 1831 1846 Opposed democracy, banned railways in papal states, opposed to progress. Involved in numerous executions. Loved playing blind-man's bluff with cardinals, and known to throw handfulls of money to his servants off his balcony, while he laughed at them scrambling for the money.
Pius IX 1846 1878 Adopted Immaculate conception and papal infallibility. Denounced secret societies, Bible associations, false philosophy, communism, and the press. Last Pope to hold temporal powers, and marked the end of the Papal states. Arranged the first vatican council. Embraced technology.
Leo XIII 1878 1903 Supported French Republic, but refused to let Italian Catholics vote. Condemned the heresy of Americanism.
Pius X 1903 1914 Motto was " Instaurare Omnia in Christo, or "to restore all things in Christ." Restored the Gregorian Chant. Denounced the separation of church and state in France. Wrote against modernization and revelation.
Benedict XV 1914 1922 WWI. Fought for a settled peace from 1914 vs. a total victory by one side or the other. Strong devotion to the Virgin Mary and humanitarian efforts.
Pius XI 1922 1939 Inaugurated the Catholic Action movement. Established Vatican Radio. On exumenism, ruled that protestants could only be reconciled by denouncing all the doctrines they rejected. Vatican city receives sovereignty. Mixed response to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini.
Pius XII 1939 1958 Used Papal infallibility to define assumption of Mary. Addressed family planning and evolution. Appointed two Jews to work in the Vatican, but did not assist the thousands who died in concentration camps. Stalled diplomated efforts to export Jews to safer countries. Non-responsive in WWII. Described by the British foreign council as the "the greatest moral coward of our age". The vatican stated that it was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities" and only addressed humanity in vague and general terms. Opposed communism.
John XXIII 1958 1963 Called the second vatican council to promote ecumenism. Met with the archbishop of Canterbury. Awarded the "presidential medal of Freedom" by U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson.
Paul VI 1963 1978 Implemented the decrees of the second vatican council. Addressed birth control. Met with orthodox patriarch, and travelled the world.
John Paul I 1978 1978 Lasted 33 days. Known as the smiling Pope.
John Paul II 1978 2005 Instrumental in the fall of communism, expanded influence in the third world. Appealed to the youth. was morally conservative. Travelled worldwide. Supported ecumenism.
Benedict XVI 2005 present Fights secularism, promotes ecumenism. Deals with strong allegations of paedophiles in the priesthood under his watch as Archbishop, Cardinal and Pope.


Footnotes

  1. (from Liber Pontificalus, and the writings of Irenaeus)
  2. from Liber Pontificalus, a Roman Catholic document
  3. from Liber Pontificalus, a Roman Catholic document


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