One of the most famous and influential persons is the Pope.
The bearer of the supreme power of the city-state, the Vatican is an important figure not only for the religious world, but also for international law.
As an independent sovereign of a country, he can make important decisions that affect the lives of citizens and world politics in general.
The title Pope was originally used by some Christian churches to identify the highest clerics.
Now Pope – Head of the Roman and Eastern Catholic Church… Officially, the position began to be called so from the pontiff Siricius (384).
Curiously, any unmarried male Catholic under the age of 80 can be a candidate, but in practice a cardinal or bishop has become a candidate for the past few centuries.
The powers and responsibilities of government extend to the entire Catholic Church as well as its administration. The Pope is an independent subject of law, all branches of government in the Vatican are subject to his authority.
Endowed with supreme spiritual and legal authority, the pontiff performs the following responsibilities to the people and the church:
- Must be a Christian and help spread the faith.
- Administers the church.
- Publishes canons.
- Appoints priests to positions.
- Assigns ecclesiastical dignities.
- Convenes the World Council and approves its decisions.
- Governs the judiciary for marriage, monastic vows, and teaching theology in schools.
As a spiritual leader, the Pope should be an example for all Catholics in the world, as well as contribute to the history of the development of the papacy and the church.
How is the election of the pontiff
The Pope is elected for life. He can leave his post only by reason of death, as well as by renunciation.
To elect a new pontiff, a conclave is convened in the Sistine Chapel – a council consisting of cardinals. Council members cannot discuss elections outside the chapel.
Each participant of the vote receives his ballot, where he must write in block letters for whom he is voting. Everything is arranged in such a way that it was impossible to determine for whom this or that cardinal voted. The ballot is placed in a special ballot box.
If, after voting, the number of sheets in the ballot box does not coincide with the number of voters, then all the ballots are burned without being read. Ballots are burned after the votes have been counted.
For a candidate to lead a church, he must gain two-thirds plus one vote.
All Catholics in the world are watching the election of the Pope. The smoke over the Sistine Chapel becomes a kind of sign of the end of the procedure – a consequence of the burning of ballots. If he is black, then the pontiff is not elected and the conclave will continue, and white smoke is a sign of the successful completion of the elections.
The proclaimed pope traditionally chooses a name for himselfwho will be called as the supreme ruler. It is recorded in a special document. After registration, the pontiff goes to the “wailing room”, where he puts on clothes: a white cassock with a white pileolus and a cape with a hood on his head (mozzetta), and also puts on a red embroidered table and goes to the chapel of the cardinals. There he receives signs of respect from them.
After congratulating, the protodeacon cardinal goes to the central loggia of the Basilica of St. Peter and announces to citizens the election of a new sovereign of the capital.
From the day of his election, the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican became the permanent residence of the Pope.
History of the papacy
The history of the papacy is 1,700 years old. During this time, the institute has experienced formation, decline and persecution, as well as periods of strengthening the faith and status of the Catholic Church.
The entire history of formation can be divided into the following periods:
- Pre-Nicene period I-III centuries. … The emergence of the papacy. The Vatican archives have preserved manuscripts of those times, which speaks of the first persons who bore the title of high priest. It was a difficult time for Christian communities, as the Christian religion was then illegal. Followers of the faith were persecuted by the state and the common people; many adherents of Christianity were executed and died a martyr’s death.
- Formation of the institution of the papacy 313 to 493 years. An episcopate was established within the Roman province. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine (306-337), sacrifices were prohibited. In 313, the law on freedom of religion was passed.
- Ostrogothic period. Lasted until 537. The Roman Empire is being ravaged by barbarian tribes of East Germans and Christians are being persecuted. Therefore, this period is characterized by the decline of culture and church.
- Byzantine period. Lasted from 537 to 752. The importance of the papacy is growing. After lengthy wars, Italy was devastated, Rome especially suffered. The church remained the only economic support of the state, and the pope and bishops were the most competent in matters of government.
- Frankish period. Lasted until 857. Christianity is the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Roman pontiffs assumed more and more political and administrative functions and became de facto sovereign.
- The era of papal humiliation – 1044-1048. The Vikings, who conquered and plundered many European lands, despised the Christian religion.
- Strengthening of the power of the Catholic Church from 1048 to 1257 The period is characterized by the conflict between the pope and the emperor over the election of bishops. Election rules and procedures evolved during this period and form the basis of the modern conclave. The most significant figure of the era was Pope Urban II. He organized the Crusades and contributed to the creation of monastic orders of knighthood. The Crusades strengthened the pope’s power and enabled him to dictate his terms to the European monarchs.
- A period of instability, reform and great schism. It lasted from 1257 to 1585. The Pope ceased to be the single head of the church, church discipline fell, and discontent with clergy among citizens is growing. During this unstable time, one of the events important for history took place – the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII.
- The Age of Enlightenment from 1585 to 1689 The flourishing in the field of culture and education takes on a threatening character for religion. Protestants refuse to recognize the authority of the church, this leads to the indifference of the people to religion. This era can be characterized as a weakening of the theological concept of power.
- The era of modern times in the history of the papacy. For quite a long time, the church lost its independence. This was facilitated by Clement XIV, who liquidated the Jesuit order and advocated the reconciliation of secular and ecclesiastical authorities, as well as Pius VII, who signed an agreement with Napoleon on state intervention in the affairs of the church. Only in 1929, Pius XI was able to regain the status of the sovereign of the country.
Now the supreme pontiff is confidently entrenched in the role of head of state.
List of Popes
The Vatican publishes the Pontifical Yearbook annually in Italian. It contains information about all the officials and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. In the yearbook you can see a complete list of the popes and the years of their reign, recorded in chronological order under their own serial number, starting with St. Peter.
Antipopes are also recorded in the register – this is the name of the people who illegally occupied the papal throne. Since the church does not recognize the antipope, their names are included in the official list, but not under a serial number, but in brackets.
The list and chronology of popes can be seen in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, one of the largest Catholic Churches. A marble slab with the names of the pontiffs buried in the cathedral is located at the entrance to the sacristy of the church.
Was the woman a dad
Pope John is one of the mysteries in the history of the papacy. Scientists are still arguing about the veracity of the events taking place at that time.
Ancient chronicles tell of the period of the reign of the church by a young woman-pope, who bore the name of John VIII, in the 9th century. According to sources, her reign lasted 2 years, 5 months and 4 days, and it could have continued if John had not become pregnant. The deception was revealed when, on the holiday of Holy Easter, during a procession of the cross, she began to give birth.
After John’s death in 857, it became a tradition in the Vatican to examine the new pope to make sure he was a man.
The current Supreme Pontiff
The current Pope’s name is Francis. The worldly name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He is Argentine by nationality and was previously the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The future head of the Vatican was born on December 17, 1936. He was the oldest of five children in the family. His father worked on the railway, and his mother was a housewife and was engaged in raising children.
Already in childhood, the boy was distinguished by kindness and courtesy. After graduating from school, he entered the technical college to become a chemist, where he successfully defended his diploma. Then he got a job in his specialty in a chemical laboratory.
At the age of 21, he suffered severe pneumonia, which almost ended in his death. After the illness, he decided to devote his life to serving God.
In 1958 he was a member of the Society of Jesus.
He attended St. Joseph’s College in his hometown and earned a degree in philosophy and a teaching license in 1967. After that he taught at the Catholic educational institutions of the capital and Santa Fe.
Became a priest at the age of 33, continued his spiritual studies at the University of Alcala de Henares and graduated in 1971.
In 1973 he took a vow of obedience to the Pope and was promoted to the provincial abbot of Argentina.
He was recognized as an auxiliary bishop of the capital in 1992, and after a while he was ordained bishop.
By 1998, he became Cardinal Priest of the Cathedral of San Roberto Bellarmino. In this position, he received a post in the administration of the Holy See and the Vatican – in the Roman curia.
From 2005 to 2011 he was the head of the Bishops’ Conference of the country.
In 2013, the Catholic world was shocked by the news of the abdication of the then acting Pope Benedict XVI. On this occasion, a conclave was held where Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the new ruler of the Vatican. As a new name, he chose Francis – the patron saint of the poor.
Pope Francis is close to the people, as evidenced by his actions:
- While not yet the supreme pontiff, in 2001 he personally visited the hospital where the poor were dying of AIDS.
- In 2016, a significant meeting took place with Patriarch Kirill. For the first time since the great schism, a document was signed calling for all Christian unity.
- In 2018, Francis delivered a speech against the death penalty. His initiative was supported by the Governor of New York.
The current Pope is loved by the people. A versatile and wise ruler, he opposes social inequality and believes that all people are worthy of respect.
Catholics hope that his reign will bring prosperity to the country and strengthen people’s faith in God.