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Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia

Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia

Автор Anura Guruge

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Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia

Автор Anura Guruge

316 страниц
4 часа
18 авг. 2020 г.


This book is a 'fancy that' crossed with a 'believe it or not' look at certain aspects of papal history with emphasis on the unexplored and the obscure – with considerable embellishment from computer-aided analytics (by now a well recognized forte of the author). The '101' bullet points dealt with in this book, per its title, covering at least 202 nuggets of insight, are divided across 7 chapters, titled: Ecumenical Councils, Names, Firsts, Dates, Conclaves, Pope Celestine V and Pope Francis. The chapter on 'Dates' looks at topics such as the first precisely recorded data in papal history, the last pope whose date of death is unknown and the recent pope who was born on Holy Saturday while the chapter on 'Firsts' talks about the first layman to be elected pope, the first cardinal bishop to be pope and the first pope known to have communicated, in writing, with the imperial court in Istanbul. Each chapter contains at least 12 bullet items.

This is the author's 9th book on popes; he the author of 'Popes and the Tale of their Names', the two 'Next Pope Books', 'The Last 10 Conclaves', 'The Election of the 2013 Pope' and 'Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia'.

Reviews of his papal books include comments such as: "And there are much data which you will find no place other than the author's books", "It's far and away the most comprehensive I've seen on the subject (and I've read a few)", "it bears evidence of careful and exhaustive and unusual research" and "This is an amazing book, delving into the subject of papal names in a way I have never seen before". This book is a continuation of the author's commitment to "careful and exhaustive and unusual research" when it comes to papal history. So much is known about Pope Francis, but where did he stay in Rome ahead of the conclave that elected him pope, what was the pet he kept while a seminarian and who owned the Fisherman's Ring that he wears? All of these items and more are dealt with in Chapter 7 along with the story of Cardinal Bergoglio and the rubber bands.

This is the authors third '101 Facts and Trivia' book. The others being on 'Comets' and 'Pope John XXIII'. There is a hope that one day there might be a 'Vol. II' to this book.

The best thing to do if this book looks even a bit interesting is to PREVIEW it Online. What you see could intrigue you.

The book is likely to contain some 'typos' though it has been fairly thoroughly 'proofed' by a number of qualified folks. As many 'typos' will be fixed in each revision. If the 'typos' bother you please return the book and get a full refund – rather than complaining about it.

A print version of this book is available.

Version 1, September 2014.

18 авг. 2020 г.

Об авторе

Anura Gurugé is an independent technical consultant who specializes in all aspects of contemporary networking, corporate portals and Web services – particularly if they involve IBM host systems. He has first hand, in-depth experience in Web-to-host, SNA, Frame Relay, Token-Ring switching and ATM. He was the founder and Chairman of the SNA-Capable i·net Forum in 1997. He also teaches graduate and post-graduate computer technology and marketing at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) – Laconia/Gilford and Portsmouth campuses. He is the author of Corporate Portals Empowered with XML and Web Services (Digital Press, 2002). In addition, he has published over 320 articles. In a career spanning 29 years, he has held senior technical and marketing roles in IBM, ITT, Northern Telecom, Wang and BBN. His Web sites are: www.inet-guru.com and www.wownh.com.

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Popes - Anura Guruge


101 Facts & Trivia

by Anura Guruge


COPYRIGHT © 2014, ANURA Guruge

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the author.

Edition 1.2 – September 20, 2014.


New Hampshire



PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS: Most of the images used in this book, including the cover image, are public domain material, mainly from Wikipedia. The cover image, sourced from Wikipedia, is from Alessandro Algardi’s Fuga d’Attila high-relief marble panel at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.



‘Justin Mamma’,

viz. Don Raphael Mallawarachchi,

an uncle who died way too young,

a longtime ago, in 1958,

when his son, my cousin,

and I were both but five.

By The Same Author


Reengineering IBM Networks

Integrating TCP/IP i-nets with IBM Data Centers

Corporate Portals Empowered with XML and Web Services

Web Services: Theory and Practice

Popes and the Tale of Their Names

The Next Pope

The Next Pope 2011

The Last 9 Conclaves

The Last 10 Conclaves: 2013 to 1903

The Election of the 2013 Pope

Pope Names for the 2013 Conclave

Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia

Comet ISON, C/2012 S1 (ISON)

Comet ISON, C/2012 S1 (ISON) Quick Reference

Comet ISON for Kids

Comets: 101 Facts & Trivia

Devanee’s Book of Dwarf Planets

Matthew’s Book of 4 Vesta the Would be Planet

Teischan’s ABC Book of Great Artists

A Pup is NOT a Toy

Table of Contents

Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia



By The Same Author

Table of Contents


I. Ecumenical Councils

II. Names

III. Firsts

IV. Dates

V. Conclaves

VI. Pope Celestine V

VII. Pope Francis

Appendix A: List Of Popes In Chronological Order

Select References

The Author


Quod Romana ecclesia nunquam erravit nec imperpetuum scriptura testante errabit.

("That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.")

—#22 in Dictatus papae (1075)

Pope Gregory VII (#158)

If you want peace work for justice.

—Pope Paul VI (#263)

THIS IS A BOOK I HAD been hoping to write for a long time. Ever since I started researching papal history, in anger, in 2006 I kept running across nuggets of information that intrigued me outright or gave me pause to reflect on the ‘broader picture’ intimated by them. Yes, much of that has to do with my innate, incurable inquisitiveness. When confronted with a ‘fact’ I cannot but help ask myself: ‘what was the first instance of this’, ‘when was the last instance’, ‘how many times did it take place in June’, ‘how many popes named Pius have been involved’ etc. This led to my efforts at ‘data mining’ papal history – i.e., trying to use computer technology to unearth relationships, demographics, patterns and statistics. One of the customer reviews, for my last book, viz. Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia, states: And there are much data which you will find no place other than the author's books. Such ‘data’, only found in my other papal books, was the impetus, motivation and basis for this book.

The depth and breadth of papal history is incredible, and suffice to say that its annals are unmatched in their uninterrupted longevity. To me this history is a treasure trove of unexplored multidimensional connections. In my first papal book, Popes and the Tale of Their Names, in 2008, I set out to explore just the topic of ‘papal names’ using data mining. People liked what I was able to unearth, analyze, quantify and document. In this book I set out to apply data mining to papal dates and the information pertaining to the twenty-one ecumenical councils recognized by the Catholics. There is a chapter each on these two topics and I would like to say that at least 70% of the information contained in those chapters have to represent new insights.

Originally, and I still have the first forty-one pages of it, I was working on a Popes: 1,001 Q&As. That I should write a book just on papal names came about when I was working on chapter 2 of this ‘1,001’ book. Once the papal names book was out in 2008, and I started blogging about popes on a regular basis, I kept on getting questions as to the possible names for the ‘next pope’. That prompted me to write my next two pope books: ‘The Next Pope’ and ‘The Next Pope: 2011’. Both those books are known for their sweeping historical perspectives and the interest enhancing trivia.

I also like to write about astronomy. I wrote a book about ‘Dwarf Planets’ in-between the two ‘Next Pope’ books. Then came 2013. In addition to the papal transition it also proved to be the year of ‘Comet ISON’. I ended up writing three books on that comet, in addition to publishing a few books relevant to the conclave. When writing the ISON books I realized, yet again, that I was accumulating a load of ancillary data – and I could not abide not sharing that with the world. That begat Comets: 101 Facts & Trivia. The ‘101’ formula appealed to me. It proved to be fairly popular with readers too. So, in September 2013, I started working on this book. Since he is one of my favorite popes I planned to have a chapter on Pope John XXIII. Then, a month into this book, I suddenly realized that, with the canonization looming, I really should do a complete book on the ‘Good Pope’ rather than just a chapter. So, I stopped working on this book and wrote Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia.

So this is my third, and hopefully not the last, ‘101’ book. I already have Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia—Volume II in my mind’s eye! But that will have to wait. The premise of this book, per its title, is quite straightforward. It is a chance to share at least 200, possibly 300, pieces of interesting, possibly even intriguing, nuggets of information, about popes and papal history, with you. This is not a treatise on papal history; it is not even close. It is but just a compendium of self-contained ‘fancy that’ facts in a Tweet-like manner. It is geared for the iPhone-Facebook age – with the realization that many will read this, on-the-go, while commuting, on mobile devices. So, it can be read in ‘pick-&-peck’ fashion. Each bullet can be read and savored independently.

I lucked out with this book. Dewie J. Gaul Esq., a distinguished retired jurist from Iowa, a papal expert par extraordinaire, kindly agreed to ‘proof’ this book for me. I met Dewie online after he had reviewed two of my pope books, rather complementarily, I may add. He kindly e-mailed me with a list of corrections for the second book, i.e., The Next Pope. I was astounded by his knowledge and thoroughness. He knew his popes. Since then I have often turned to him for advice. I did not want to impose. But, despite my middle name being ‘typo’, and my unfailing remarks that my books will contain typos, people still give me grief about typos. I knew that I could not do any better than Dewie. So, I reluctantly asked him. He graciously agreed. So, this book should be in better shape than any of my prior books, but, as ever, any typos and errors that get through are all my responsibility, and I apologize for those right now.

As with my ‘John XXIII’ book, I am also very fortunate that I had the invaluable assistance of Mark Trauernicht from the D.C. area (U.S.) and Father Anthony Churchill, S.T.L., from Bognor Regis, West Sussex, U.K., in writing this book. Both have been long-term and trusted collaborators. They too excel in their expertise when it comes to all matters Catholic and popes. My wife Deanna, as she has done with all my books since 2003, will do a final read through to make sure that we have caught as many ‘issues’ as we can. I thank all of these, Dewie, Mark, Fr. Churchill and Deanna for all their help. But, it is possible that despite all their fine efforts a typo or two still got through the dragnet. If so, and those typos bother you, please return the book and ask for your money back, in full – ideally though after you have finished reading it and maybe even after you lent it to a friend or two.

There really is not that much more I need to share with you at this stage. The chapter headings are quite self-explanatory and it should be fairly easy to work out why I picked the two popes who each have a chapter of their own. As I mentioned earlier my long term goal is to make this a multivolume work.

For now I hope you enjoy this book. There should be plenty of new data to keep you interested, involved and maybe even intrigued. Thank you. Pax.

Anura Gurugé

Lakes Region, New Hampshire

August 27, 2014

I. Ecumenical Councils

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC Church recognizes, unequivocally, twenty-one ecumenical councils (sometimes also referred to as general councils). These twenty-one councils being: (i) First Council of Nicaea, (ii) First Council of Constantinople, (iii) Council of Ephesus, (iv) Council of Chalcedon, (v) Second Council of Constantinople, (vi) Third Council of Constantinople, (vii) Second Council of Nicaea, (viii) Fourth Council of Constantinople, (ix) First Council of the Lateran, (x) Second Council of the Lateran, (xi) Third Council of the Lateran, (xii) Fourth Council of the Lateran, (xiii) First Council of Lyon, (xiv) Second Council of Lyon, (xv) Council of Vienne, (xvi) Council of Constance, (xvii) Council of Basel, Ferrara and Florence, (xviii) Fifth Council of the Lateran, (xix) Council of Trent, (xx) First Council of the Vatican and (xxi) Second Council of the Vatican.

1)  Who was the first pope (as pope) to actually attend an ecumenical council (rather than sending legates) and what council was it that he attended?

Pope Callistus II (#163) [Feb. 1119 to Dec. 1124] was the first pope to participate in an ecumenical council when he attended the ninth such council, the First Council of the Lateran, held in Rome.

It was the first council to be held in Rome, actually the first to be held in ‘the west’, i.e., at a location west of the Adriatic Sea (and thus not in a region which now would be within modern day Turkey). It is believed to have convened on March 18, 1123, the third Sunday of Lent, and come to an end on April 6, 1123 – with the canons it approved being finalized on March 27 of that year.

The council had been convoked by Callistus II in December 1122. Its primary objective was to formally ratify the Concordat of Worms (Pactum Callixtinum), which finally resolved the bitter, ‘century-old’ dispute between popes and secular rulers (emperors in particular) over lay investiture. The crux here was the Church’s understandably unwavering assertion that ecclesiastical authority could only ever be bestowed upon a cleric by the Church, and never, under any circumstances, by a lay person irrespective of their stature. Kings and emperors on the other hand, since at least the 10th century, had felt that it was their duty, if not their outright obligation, to continually contest this contention, even in the context of papal elections.

The astute and skilled Gregory ‘Hildebrand’ VII (#158) [Apr. 1073 to May 1085] tried to prohibit lay investiture in 1075, but failed; papal exiles, a succession of antipopes and a long sede vacanti ensued.

Callistus was to be pope four decades later. He was born to French aristocracy and related to a number of the royal houses. Leading up to Worms the pope and the seasoned emperor, Henry V [a reigning royal since 1098], resorted to the by then well-worn ‘two powers’ rubric, to reach a win-win compromise of sorts. The pope, moreover, succeeded in securing very favorable terms for the Church. Per the concordat, the Church had the right to appoint bishops and abbots across the empire. Only the Church hierarchy had the authority to invest these clerics with spiritual authority – which was done symbolically with the presentation of a ring and crosier (staff). The emperor (or king), on the other hand, could bestow bishops with worldly authority and benefits (such as that of conferring of lands) – doing so with a tap of a royal scepter (lance), this symbolizing temporal power. This did mean, in theory, that bishops now owed allegiance on earth both to the pope and the territorial ruler, particularly in times of war, though the concordat did try to be diplomatically vague on this.

In the case of German sees and abbeys, the emperor (or his representatives) could be present at the relevant elections, though, of course, sans any hint of interference, let alone simony and coercion, and possibly even arbitrate in the event of a dispute. In Germany, investiture by scepter would precede consecration. Outside of Germany the investiture by the ruler, in the form of insignia of authority delivered by an ambassador, was to occur within six months of an appointment. By implication this concordat also precluded further imperial involvement in papal elections, since the pope, as the Bishop of Rome, was associated with a bishopric outside the boundaries of Germany. Per this concordat the emperor could no longer expect a levy (essentially a tax) on the election of a new bishop or abbot.

The pope was not at Worms. Negotiations had been ongoing since 1121, with the emperor sending a delegation to Rome in early 1122 to pave the way for the agreement. In the summer of 1122 the pope dispatched three cardinals, one of them Lamberto Scannabecchi (the future Honorius II (#164)) who had been involved in the prior discussions, to Worms. Following three weeks of intense negotiations the concordat was finalized on September 23, 1122.

The pope could have ratified the concordat at a Roman Synod. But this was a momentous breakthrough in European politics and the pope was urged, particularly so by the Archbishop of Mainz [Germany], to convene a pan-European council to emphasize the significance of this new world order. Hence this council. It was the first such council not to have the arbitration of a dogmatic issue on its agenda.

In reality there is very little reliable information about this council. Even the start and end dates are but educated (and by now widely accepted) conjecture. It is believed to have been attended by at least three hundred bishops and abbots from across Europe, and presided over by the pope – the first instance of a pope doing so. The primary order of business was to ratify the concordat and this was duly done. Given the quorum present, the council also went on to issue a number of canons, mainly to do with clerical discipline and favorable treatment of those that participate in crusades, though the exact number of canons that emanated from this council is in doubt. It is thought that at least one of the canons confirmed the absolute need for clerical celibacy while another forbade marriage between blood-relatives. As far as is known there were no canons or edicts passed that dealt with any aspect of doctrine.

<<  ‘Investiture’ is from the Latin investitura and investire meaning ‘to clothe’. The town name ‘Worms’ has its origins in the Celtic ‘Borbetomagus’ denoting ‘a water rich area’ which became the Latin Vormatia.  >>


2)  The Second Vatican Council, as is well known, interrupted by the passing away of John XXIII (#262), lasted just over three years [1,154 days] and was conducted over four distinct ‘periods’. The 3.2 year duration of this council, though on the long side, is nowhere close to the record for either the longest or the shortest of councils. So, which was the shortest ecumenical council on record and which was the longest?

With the exception of the second council, i.e., First Council of Constantinople, where the best that is known is that it started sometime during May 381 and concluded on July 9, 381, fairly credible start and end dates are available for all of the other councils – albeit with some interpretative variations in a few instances that need to be carefully assessed [e.g., distinguishing between when the attendees first convened in solemnity as opposed to their first deliberative session]. That the proceedings (or acts) of all these councils, and especially the canons that emanated, were, by and large, carefully documented and disseminated, given their significance to Church governance (though there is still some confusion and omissions, even in the case of the canons), certainly helped in establishing consensus on the dates – particularly so for the early ones.

All four of the consecutively held first four Lateran councils, the first also to be held in Italy, were short in duration, none lasting more than nineteen days.

Per reliable existing documentation, the Third Lateran Council, the eleventh council overall, convoked and presided over by Alexander III (#171) [Sep. 1159 to Aug. 1181], started on March 5, 1179 and ended on March 19, 1179. It thus lasted fourteen days. It is said to have consisted of three sessions, each a day long, held on 5, 14 and 19 March during which a total of twenty-seven canons were enacted; one of them the first formal prohibition of sodomy.

The Second Lateran Council, the tenth overall, may have been a tad shorter but its exact end date is in some doubt. It, convoked and presided over by Innocent II (#165) [Feb. 1130 to Sep. 1143], is known to have commenced on April 2, 1139. Some say it ended before April 17, 1139 (possibly the 16th) while others contend that it ended on April 17. So, it may have lasted 14 days, possibly 15 and maybe less. But one cannot be sure.

Hence the best that can be said is that the shortest council was probably the Second or the Third of the Lateran Councils, the exact dates for the latter not in doubt. The next contenders are the First and Second Lateran Councils, both of which lasted nineteen days.

The primary motivation for both the Second and Third Lateran Councils was to normalize schisms that had arisen following papal election machinations: the first after the death of Honorius II (#164) in 1130 and the other post Hadrian ‘the English pope’ IV (#170) in 1159. The council of 1179, said to have been attended by 302 bishops, and the first held since the formation of the College of Cardinals in 1150, is now famous as having been pivotal in papal election reform, defining two of the now fundamental norms. It was this council that mandated, via a canon, in the hope of avoiding future schisms, that henceforth only cardinals had the right to elect the pope and that a two-thirds majority was mandatory for the election to be valid. There is a theory that these electoral norms were actually formulated at the 1139 council, though there is no extant documentation to substantiate this. It is possible that the 1139 council, if nothing else, overrode a 1059 ruling limiting voting at papal elections just to the cardinal bishops and ensured that all cardinals, irrespective of their order, had an equal say – especially since it would appear that all cardinals did participate in subsequent elections, tumultuous though they were.

In general, when it comes to the canons passed at these ‘early’ councils most are only familiar, if that, with sanitized, highly summarized and restated versions. So, the crucial Canon 1 from 1179 pertaining to papal elections is oft just portrayed as stating: ‘In order to prevent the possibility of future schisms, only cardinals were to possess the right to elect a pope. In addition a two-thirds majority was to be required in order for the election to be valid. If any candidate should declare himself pope without receiving the required majority, he and his supporters were to be excommunicated’.

That seems clear enough but the actual canon, in its English translation, is said to read: ‘Although clear enough decrees have been handed down by our predecessors to avoid dissension in the choice of a sovereign pontiff, nevertheless in spite of these, because through wicked and reckless ambition the church has often suffered serious division, we too, in order to avoid this evil, on the advice of our brethren and with the approval of the sacred council, have decided that some addition must be made. Therefore we decree that if by chance, through some enemy sowing tares, there cannot be full agreement among the cardinals on a successor to the papacy, and though two thirds are in agreement a third party is unwilling to agree with them or presumes to appoint someone else for itself, that person shall be held as Roman pontiff who has been chosen and received by the two thirds. But if anyone trusting to his nomination by the third party assumes the name of bishop, since he cannot take the reality, both he and those who receive him are to incur excommunication and be deprived of all sacred order, so that viaticum be denied them, except at the hour of death, and unless they repent, let them receive the lot of Dathan and Abiron, who were swallowed up alive by the earth. Further, if anyone is chosen to the apostolic office by less than two thirds, unless in the meantime he receives a larger support, let him in no way assume it, and let him be subject to the foresaid penalty if he is unwilling humbly to refrain. However, as a result of this decree, let no prejudice arise to the canons and other ecclesiastical constitutions according to which the decision of the greater and senior {1 } part should prevail, because any doubt that can arise in them can be settled by a higher authority; whereas in the Roman church there is a special constitution, since no recourse can be had to a superior’.

For a start, the restriction of the election just to cardinals is said more in passing than as a new edict. Hence it is possible that it was indeed the 1139 council that came up with this paradigm-shifting alteration to the norms. Canon 3 from 1179, pithily stated: ‘forbade the promotion of anyone to a parish before the age of 25 and to the episcopate before the age of 30’. This is considered to be the basis of the theory that a layman could be elected to be the Bishop of Rome and hence the pope. Before moving on it is worth taking a look at Canon 4 from 1139, especially since it echoes the ‘keep it simple, keep it humble’ mantra of the pope elected in 2013, Pope Francis (#267). The summarized version says: ‘Injunction to bishops and ecclesiastics not to cause scandal by wearing ostentatious clothes but to dress modestly’. The full version is much more eloquent. It states: ‘We also enjoin that bishops as well as clergy take pains to be pleasing to God and to humans in both their interior and exterior comportment. Let them give no offence in the sight of those for whom they ought to be a model and example, by the excess, cut or colour of their clothes, nor with regard to the tonsure, but rather, as is fitting for them, let them exhibit holiness. If after a warning from the bishops they are unwilling to change their ways, let

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