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Succession of the Popes

Daniel J. Castellano (2007)

[List of Popes]

Whereas most lists of claimants to the see of Peter do not adequately explain why some are regarded as popes and others as antipopes, the following lineage provides explanations of the circumstances of each papal accession or claim, with an attempt to be true to the context of the period, as the secular claims of the papacy have changed over time.

The Pope is the successor of St. Peter by virtue of being the Bishop of Rome, hence a candidate assumes the papacy upon becoming the Bishop of Rome, who is elected by the clergy of that city. A Pope may nominate a successor, but since his reign ends with his death, he has no lawful means of imposing his nominee as Pope without the consent of the electors.

If the pope-elect is already a bishop, he assumes the papacy immediately upon his assent; otherwise, he becomes Pope as soon as he is ordained bishop, which may take place in the consecration ceremony. In the first millennium, it was considered irregular for a bishop to change sees, so most elected popes were not already bishops, making the consecration ceremony crucial.

In order to prevent disputed papal elections, the custom arose of having the election confirmed by the emperor prior to consecration. This custom was abused by several emperors to attempt to manipulate the outcome of elections. However, so long as the Roman clergy freely offer their submission to the nominee, he becomes Pope regardless of prior interference. Owing in part to the inconvenience of waiting for the German emperor's confirmation, the practice was gradually abandoned in the seventh and eighth centuries, though it was still considered good form to notify the emperor.

Elections of the Pope were originally made only by the Roman clergy, though at various times from the fourth century onward, laymen were allowed to participate either as electors or to confirm acceptance. The clergy also retain the right to restrict elections to only the higher clergy, as occurred numerous times in the first millennium, finally culminating in the system of the conclave of Roman cardinals generally used since the eleventh century.

The Pope possessed tracts of land since the early Middle Ages, but it was not until the Donation of Pepin (755) that he assumed temporal sovereignty over a substantial portion of Italy. This sovereignty was passed to later popes (as confirmed by Charlemagne), so that temporal rule over the Papal States was assumed by virtue of being the Bishop of Rome. In the High Middle Ages, this Patrimonium Petri was erroneously believed to have been the gift of Constantine, due to an eighth-century forgery. Nonetheless, the basis of the papal claim is hardly changed by the fact that donation was from Pepin, depending in either case on the voluntary act of a temporal sovereign. No pope ever claimed universal temporal power, though most maintained that their continued sovereignty over the Papal States was essential to the independence and self-sufficiency of the Church, as well as essential to the dignity of the papacy, which is judged by no man. The modern popes retain temporal sovereignty only over Vatican City, and most have forgone the trappings of temporal monarchy, in order to emphasize that the Pope's universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction and status as Supreme Pontiff are in no wise dependent on his temporal sovereignty.

  1. St. Peter, Apostle and Martyr (42-67)
    Reigned 25 years. Chief of the Apostles and visible head of the Church since Christ's Ascension (AD 29). Established Church in Rome c. 40-42. Martyred AD 64 or 67.
  2. St. Linus (67-76)
    Reigned 12 yrs, 4 mos. His years of rule are possibly reckoned from AD 64, while administrator of the Roman Church during St. Peter's imprisonment.
  3. St. Anacletus (Cletus), Martyr (76-88)
    Reigned 12 years.
  4. St. Clement I (88-97)
    Reigned 9 years.
  5. St. Evaristus, Martyr (97-105)
    Reigned 8 years.
  6. St. Alexander I (105-115)
    Reigned 10 years.
  7. St. Sixtus I (115-125)
    Reigned 10 years.
  8. St. Telesphorus, Martyr (125-136)
    Reigned 11 years.
  9. St. Hyginus (136-140)
    Reigned 4 years.
  10. St. Pius I (140-155)
    Reigned 15 years.
  11. St. Anicetus, Martyr (155-166)
  12. St. Soter (166-174)
    Reigned 8 years.
  13. St. Eleutherius (174-189)
  14. St. Victor I (189-199)
  15. St. Zephyrinus (199-218)
  16. St. Callistus I (218-223)
    Reigned 5 years.
    St. Hippolytus, Antipope and Martyr (218-236)
    Elected by a small minority as antipope in reaction to election of Callistus, whom he erroneously accused of heresy. He made peace with the Church before his martyrdom, and was buried with honors.
  17. St. Urban I (223-30)
    Reigned 8 years.
  18. St. Pontian, Martyr (230-35)
    Banished during Roman persecution together with Hippolytus, sharing martyrdom with the antipope in 236. He resigned in 235 so the papacy would not be effectively vacant.
  19. St. Anterus, Martyr (235-36)
    Reigned 40 days.
  20. St. Fabian, Martyr (236-50)
    Reigned 14 years.
  21. St. Cornelius, Martyr (251-53)
    Novatian, Antipope (251)
    Elected antipope by his followers in reaction to Cornelius' election; excommunicated that same year by a council of sixty bishops.
  22. St. Lucius I, Confessor (253-54)
    Briefly exiled from Rome in 253 during persecution.
  23. St. Stephen I (254-257)
    Possibly appointed by Lucius as his successor.
  24. St. Sixtus II, Martyr (257-258)
  25. St. Dionysius (260-268)
  26. St. Felix I (269-274)
  27. St. Eutychian (275-283)
  28. St. Caius (283-296)
    Reigned 12 years, 4 months.
  29. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
  30. St. Marcellus I, Martyr (308-309)
    Died in exile.
  31. St. Eusebius, Martyr (309/310)
    Reigned 4 months. Died in exile; honored as martyr.
  32. St. Miltiades (310/11-14)
  33. St. Sylvester I (314-35)
  34. St. Marcus (336)
  35. St. Julius I (337-52)
  36. Liberius (352-66)
    Exiled by emperor in 357; restored later that year.
    Felix, Antipope (357)
    Nominated by emperor as the exiled Liberius' replacement; rejected by Roman clergy and populace.
  37. St. Damasus I, Confessor (366-83)
    Ursinus, Antipope (367-68)
    Elected by a minority dissatisfied with Pope Damasus; banished from Rome by Emperor Valentinian.
  38. St. Siricius (384-99)
  39. St. Anastasius I (399-401)
    Reigned less than four years.
  40. St. Innocent I (401-17)
  41. St. Zosimus (417-18)
    Eulalius, Antipope (418)
    Elected by Roman deacons who barred entry of the higher clergy into the Lateran, immediately after death of Zosimus. His claim was rejected by the emperor within months.
  42. St. Boniface I (418-22)
    Elected by higher clergy (9 bishops and 70 priests). Recognized as true pope by the emperor. Upon Boniface's request, Emperor Honorius legislated that, in the future, disputed papal elections will result in recognition of neither candidate, and a new election would be held.
  43. St. Celestine I (422-32)
  44. St. Sixtus III (432-40)
  45. St. Leo I the Great (440-61)
  46. St. Hilarius (461-68)
    Reigned 6 years, 3 months.
  47. St. Simplicius (468-83)
  48. St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
    Reigned 8 years, 11 months.
  49. St. Gelasius I (492-96)
  50. Anastasius II (496-98)
  51. St. Symmachus (498-514)
    Election by Roman clergy confirmed by part of the senate. In 499, he held a synod forbidding campaigning for papal votes while a pope lived. In 501, supporters of Laurentius evicted the Pope from the Lateran. The Gothic king Theodoric investigated their accusations against Symmachus in 502. A synod of 75 bishops, including those of Milan and Ravenna, declared that the pope could not be judged by them and he was exonerated of all charges, free to exercise his office. Theodoric allowed the antipope Laurentius to return to the Lateran nonethess, where he remained until banished by the king four years later.
    Laurentius, Antipope (498-506)
    Elected by a minority of clergy and a part of the senate. Seized the Lateran in 501. Condemned as a schismatic by a synod of 75 bishops in 502, he nonetheless remained in Rome as king Theodoric would not enforce the synod's decree. Finally deposed by Theodoric four years later.
  52. St. Hormisdas (514-23)
  53. St. John I, Martyr (523-26)
    Reigned 2 years, 9 months. Imprisoned by Theodoric and died a martyr.
  54. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
    Nominated by Theodoric; approved by clergy and laity. Chose Boniface as his successor.
    Dioscorus, Antipope? (530)
    60 out of 67 Roman priests rejected Boniface's appointment by Pope Felix, himself a favorite of the Gothic king, and instead elected Dioscorus as pope. He died a few weeks later.
  55. Boniface II (530-32)
    Not elected, but appointed by his predecessor. Anathematized Dioscorus, and received pledge of obedience from his electors in Dec. 530. Passed constitution granting himself right to appoint his successor, but universal disfavor compelled him to rescind it (531).
  56. John II (533-35)
    Prior to election, the Senate outlawed simony in papal elections. Disputed elections, by decree of the Gothic king, could be submitted to the judgment of officials at Ravenna.
  57. St. Agapetus I (535-36)
    Burned the anathema of Boniface against Dioscorus.
  58. St. Silverius, Martyr (536-37?)
    Elected due to influence of Ostrogoth king; received consent of Roman clergy. In 537, the Byzantines occupied Rome, accused Silverius of treason and exiled him. He died in exile, probably shortly thereafter.
  59. Vigilius (537?-55)
    Nominated by the Byzantine empress, he was elected pope after the unjust exile of Silverius. He was recognized by the Roman clergy after the death of the exiled pope.
  60. Pelagius I (556-61)
  61. John III (561-74)
    Consecration delayed several months while awaiting imperial confirmation.
  62. Benedict I (575-79)
    11 months delay awaiting imperial confirmation.
  63. Pelagius II (579-90)
    Consecrated without imperial confirmation due to blockade.
  64. St. Gregory I the Great (590-604)
    6 months delay for imperial confirmation.
  65. Sabinian (604-606)
    Several months delay for imperial confirmation.
  66. Boniface III (607)
    Decreed that no one may discuss appointment of successor while pope lives, and elections may begin no sooner than the third day after his death.
  67. St. Boniface IV (608-15)
  68. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
  69. Boniface V (619-25)
  70. Honorius I (625-38)
    Though posthumously condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council for prohibiting orthodox formulae, he was not a positive heretic, hence a valid pope.
  71. Severinus (640)
    Elected in 638, he did not receive imperial confirmation until after protracted refusal to sign the emperor's heretical profession of faith.
  72. John IV (640-42)
    Probably confirmed by Exarch of Ravenna.
  73. Theodore I (642-49)
    Election confirmed by Exarch of Ravenna.
  74. St. Martin I, Martyr (649-55)
    Did not await imperial confirmation. Unlawfully deposed in 653 and brought to Constantinople, where he died a martyr.
  75. St. Eugene I (655-57)
    Elected pope in 654, possibly with imperial influence. Pope St. Martin assented to his election after the fact.
  76. St. Vitalian (657-72)
  77. Adeodatus (II) (672-76)
  78. Donus (676-78)
  79. St. Agatho (678-81)
    Emperor promised to reduce or abolish tax paid by popes after consecration.
  80. St. Leo II, Confessor (682-83)
    Elected 681, but long delay (1 year, 7 months) in imperial confirmation. In ratifying condemnation of Pope Honorius, he clarified that Honorius did not positively teach heresy.
  81. St. Benedict II (684-85)
    11 months delay in consecration, awaiting imperial confirmation. Received decree from emperor abolishing requirement of imperial confirmation, possibly replacing it with confirmation by exarch in Italy.
  82. John V (685-86)
    Immediately consecrated without imperial confirmation.
  83. Conon (686-87)
    Sent notice of election to Exarch of Ravenna.
  84. St. Sergius I (687-701)
    Pascal and Theodore were elected by factional intrigues, but the Roman clergy and people chose Sergius, who alone was consecrated.
  85. John VI (701-05)
  86. John VII (705-07)
  87. Sisinnius (708)
    Reigned 3 weeks; died of gout.
  88. Constantine (708-15)
  89. St. Gregory II (715-31)
  90. St. Gregory III (731-41)
    Election presumably confirmed by exarch at Ravenna.
  91. St. Zachary (741-52)
    Consecrated immediately after election.
    Stephen (II), Pope-elect (752) [1]
    Died before being consecrated, so by the canons of that time he was never lawfully pope. Moreover, since he was only a priest and not a bishop at the time of election, he could not validly become pope until receiving ordination to episcopate. Nonetheless, for several centuries he was included in papal lists.
  92. Stephen II (III) (752-57)
    Received Donation of Pepin (756), becoming temporal sovereign over central Italy.
  93. St. Paul I (757-67)
    Constantine, Antipope (767)
    Layman forcibly imposed by Tuscans as “pope” while Pope Paul still lived. Deposed by Romans with aid of Lombards.
    Philip, Antipope (767)
    Secretly elected by Lombards; deposed by Romans.
  94. Stephen III (IV) (768-72)
    Canonically elected after usurpers were deposed. Lateran council (769) forbade laymen from participating in papal elections, and allowed only cardinals to become popes.
  95. Adrian I (772-95)
    Reigned 23 years, 10 months. Charlemagne (774) reaffirmed the territorial gift of Pepin to the Popes.
  96. St. Leo III (795-816)
    Elected the day after Adrian's death; consecrated on the second day. Notified Charlemagne after the fact.
  97. Stephen IV (V) (816-17)
    Sent notice of election to Louis after consecration.
  98. St. Paschal I (817-24)
    Consecrated day after Pope Stephen's death.
  99. Eugene II (824-27)
    He was the candidate preferred by Roman nobles who illicitly participated in the election process. A concordat with the emperor (824) reinforced Pope Stephen's decree (769) that lay persons are excluded from papal elections. No papal elections could be made contrary to the canons, and no pope could be consecrated without the emperor's envoys present.
  100. Valentine (827)
    Ruled little more than a month.
  101. Gregory IV (828-44)
    Elected in 827 due to influence of Roman nobility, but belatedly approved for consecration by Louis the Pious.
  102. Sergius II (844-47)
    Elected by a majority and consecrated, despite an attempt by a mob to impose another candidate. Did not seek imperial confirmation, so the Emperor's son Louis verified the election's validity after the fact.
  103. St. Leo IV (847-55)
    Consecrated without imperial confirmation, due to siege of Rome.
  104. Benedict III (855-58)
    Legates sent to confirm Benedict's election to the emperor instead betrayed the Pope and nominated the excommunicated Cardinal Anastasius instead. Benedict was imprisoned, but then restored to the papacy within a few months due to the protests of the Roman clergy and people.
  105. St. Nicholas I the Great (858-67)
    Election was influenced by the emperor. Held a synod in 862 restoring right of Roman nobles to vote in papal elections.
  106. Adrian II (867-72)
  107. John VIII (872-82)
  108. Marinus I (Martin II) (882-84)
    Possibly elected on the day of Pope John's death. Consecrated without confirmation of the inept emperor Charles the Fat.
  109. St. Adrian III (884-85)
  110. Stephen V (VI) (885-91)
    Consecrated without imperial confirmation, but election was accepted by Charles the Fat.
  111. Formosus (891-96)
    In 867, Pope Nicholas had declined to make Formosus Archbishop of Bulgaria since it was uncanonical for a bishop to transfer to another diocese. This rule did not prevent his eligibility as a papal candidate in 872. For political reasons, Pope John banished Formosus from Rome and laicized him under threat of excommunication. This sentence was revoked under Pope Marinus, who restored him as Bishop of Porto. In 891, he was elected pope without incident, but the validity of his papacy was challenged posthumously by several of his successors.
  112. Boniface VI, of doubtful validity (896)
    A twice defrocked cleric elected by a mob; he died fifteen days later. His election was apparently declared null by Pope John IX in 898 on the grounds that he was not a priest in good standing at the time of election. Nonetheless, he has been included in modern lists of the popes.
  113. Stephen VI (VII) (896-97)
    Perhaps at imperial prodding, Stephen exhumed the corpse of Formosus and condemned the dead pope for illicitly moving from the See of Porto to that of Rome, an ironic charge considering Stephen himself had been Bishop of Anagni before becoming pope. Formosus' corpse was stripped of papal vestments and cast into the Tiber. The outraged Romans imprisoned Stephen, who was strangled to death.
  114. Romanus (897-98)
    Possibly deposed illicitly by a rival faction; died within months.
  115. Theodore II (898)
    Confirmed validity of ordinations under Pope Formosus, and reburied the pontiff at St. Peter's. Reigned only 20 days.
  116. John IX (898-900)
    In a synod held in 898, John nullified Stephen's grisly trial and condemnation of Formosus, and reaffirmed the validity of ordinations by Formosus. The pope-elect could not be consecrated without presence of imperial envoys, in order to reduce influence of Roman factions.
  117. Benedict IV (900-03)
  118. Leo V (903)
    Reigned about a month before being imprisoned by Cardinal Christopher. He was either killed by Sergius III or died naturally in captivity.
    Christopher, Antipope (903)
    Violently deposed Pope Leo and made himself pope, until the Romans imprisoned him for his usurpation.
  119. Sergius III, of doubtful validity (904-11)
    Invited by the Romans to replace the antipope Christopher, Sergius declared null the ordinations performed by Formosus, perhaps in part because Formosus had made Sergius bishop of Caere, rendering him canonically ineligible for the papacy. Nonetheless, Sergius had been considered a valid candidate in 898. It is unclear whether he had Leo and Christopher killed, or if the true pope Leo continued to live throughout Sergius' reign, which would make him an antipope.
  120. Anastasius III (911-13)
  121. Lando (913-14)
  122. John X (914-28)
    Became pope through the influence of aristocratic relatives. He was imprisoned in 928, and died shortly thereafter.
  123. Leo VI, of doubtful validity (928-929)
    Reigned 7 months. If John X was still alive, he would be an antipope.
  124. Stephen VII (VIII), of doubtful validity (929-31)
    If John X was still alive, he would be an antipope.
  125. John XI (931-36) Elected through the intrigues of Senatrix Marozia. When she was overthrown and imprisoned by her son Alberic II (932), the pope was reduced to spiritual duties, while ecclesiastical and temporal affairs were handled by Alberic.
  126. Leo VII (936-39)
    Enthroned by Alberic.
  127. Stephen IX (939-42)
    Subject to Alberic.
  128. Marinus II (Martin III) (942-46)
    Enthroned by Alberic.
  129. Agapetus II (946-55)
    Subject to Alberic.
  130. John XII (955-64)
    In 954, Alberic forced the Roman nobles to swear they would elect his only son Octavian pope upon the death of Agapetus. In 955, Octavian was elected as Pope John, a man of scandalously corrupt morals. The German king Otto I recognized John's full spiritual and temporal authority in Rome, and consented to be crowned emperor by him in 962. Otto agreed with John that papal elections should be held canonically, and consecration should take place only after making pledges to the emperor. In Dec. 963, John was deposed by a synod of fifty bishops, with the emperor's consent. The election of a new pope Leo was thoroughly uncanonical. A Roman insurrection expelled the imperial party in 964, enabling John to return to Rome. Leo VIII was excommunicated and declared to be invalidly ordained. Pope John died shortly thereafter.
    Leo VIII, Antipope (963-65) [2]
    Uncanonically ordained and invalidly elected pope while John XII still lived, Leo was imposed on the Romans as their pope by Emperor Otto in Dec. 963. A popular revolt restored Pope John, and upon his death the Romans elected Benedict as pope. Otto banished Benedict, and again imposed Leo as pope until his death in 965.
  131. Benedict V (964-965)
    Elected by the Romans upon the death of John XII, he was captured by the emperor a month later. He was imprisoned in Germany and forcibly deposed. He continued to be recognized as pope by the Romans and even some German clergy. Upon the death of the antipope Leo, the Romans requested Benedict's return, but the emperor refused and Benedict died months later.
  132. John XIII (965-72)
    Nominated by emperor; former bishop of Narni. In Dec. 965, he was captured by Roman nobles hostile to the emperor, but he escaped his prison. In Nov. 966, the emperor suppressed the Roman conspiracy and restored Pope John.
  133. Benedict VI (973-74)
    Consecration delayed several months waiting for emperor's ratification. He was captured by Roman nobles and strangled to death.
    Boniface VII, Antipope (974-85)
    Invalidly elected by the Roman faction that imprisoned Benedict VI, this antipope ordered the execution of the true pope. A month later, the emperor's envoy took control of Rome, forcing Boniface to flee. Upon the death of Otto II (Dec. 983), he returned to Rome and imprisoned John XIV (Apr. 984), who died 4 months later. After his death in 985, his body was dragged through the streets by a mob and subjected to public desecration.
  134. Benedict VII (974-83)
    Under the influence of the imperial envoy who attempted to get Benedict VI released, the Romans elected another Benedict as pope, while the antipope Boniface fled the city.
  135. John XIV (983-84)
    Elected with emperor's consent. Imprisoned by antipope Boniface in 984; died 4 months later.
  136. John XV (XVI) (985-96)
    Elected after the death of antipope Boniface (by some accounts, another Pope John had a four-month reign just before his, making him the sixteenth Pope John). Subject to the patrician John Crescentius, who wielded temporal authority.
  137. Gregory V (996-99)
    Nominated by his relative, Emperor Otto III. After Otto left Rome, Gregory was driven from the city by the noble Crescentius Numentanus, who established the antipope John XVI (997). Gregory was restored at Rome the following year.
    John XVI, Antipope (997-98)
    Invalidly named pope by the noble Crescentius Numentanus, who expelled Gregory V from Rome. The emperor's troops captured John a year later, and he was mutilated and degraded, while Crescentius was hanged.
  138. Sylvester II (999-1003)
    Elected through imperial influence.
  139. John XVII (1003)
    Elected under influence of John Crescentius, son of Crescentius Numentanus.
  140. John XVIII (1003-09)
    Elected throuch Crescentius' influence.
  141. Sergius IV (1009-12)
  142. Benedict VIII (1012-24)
    Forcibly acquired papacy through Tusculan influence.
  143. John XIX (1024-32)
    Brother of Benedict and a layman who was temporal ruler of Rome, was elected nonetheless. Recognized by Byzantine emperor, until he refused to recognize title of ecumenical patriarch.
  144. Benedict IX (1032-45)
    Nephew of John IX and son of Alberic, who gave the papacy to his young, immoral progeny. He was expelled from Rome in 1044, and Sylvester III was elected pope the following year. Benedict expelled Sylvester in 1045, then resigned the papacy in exchange for a large sum. Gregory VI was then elected, but Benedict reneged and sought to depose him. All three papal claimants were deposed at a council summoned by King Henry III in 1046, and Pope Clement II was elected, only to die shortly. Benedict recaptured Rome in 1047, only to be expelled again in 1048. It is uncertain whether he ever renounced his papal claim.
    Sylvester III, Antipope (1045-46) [3]
    Invalidly elected pontiff in reaction to the dissolute behavior of Benedict. Expelled from Rome by Benedict in 1045 and deposed by the Council of Sutri in 1046.
  145. Gregory VI (1045-46)
    Godfather of Benedict, he paid the immoral pope a large sum to resign, and was recognized as the new pope by St. Peter Damian, despite the apparent taint of simony. He abdicated after the Council of Sutri declared his accession simoniacal, and died in 1047.
    Benedict IX, Antipope? (1045-46) [4]
    Repenting of his sale of the papacy, Benedict sought to depose Gregory, until he was himself deposed in 1046 by the Council of Sutri, which declared he had forfeited his claim by resigning the office.
  146. Clement II (1046-47)
    Nominated by Henry III to end schism. Died shortly thereafter.
    Benedict IX, Antipope? (1047-48) [5]
    After Clement's death, Benedict seized Rome one last time, before being definitively expelled. He may have relinquished his claim some time afterward.
  147. Damasus II (1048)
    In Dec. 1047, the Romans notified Henry III of Clement's death (July). The emperor's nominee was installed as Pope Damasus, while Benedict was banished. Reigned 23 days.
  148. St. Leo IX (1049-54)
    Nominated by the emperor, yet freely elected by the Romans.
  149. Victor II (1055-57)
    Nominated by the emperor, but accepted only on condition of restoration of papal lands.
  150. Stephen IX (X) (1057-58)
    Freely elected.
    Benedict X, Antipope (1058-59)
    Violently acquired throne, in defiance of Stephen's order to wait for Hildebrand before electing a successor. Expelled in Jan. 1059 and forced to capitulate that autumn.
  151. Nicholas II (1058-61)
    Received imperial confirmation prior to election; coronation ceremony delayed to Jan. 1059, after Benedict X was expelled from Rome. In 1059, a Lateran synod reformed papal elections. Henceforth, popes were to be elected by cardinals only, while the Roman people could acclaim the pope-elect. If violence or strife prevents the coronation ceremony, the Pope still enjoys full authority; thus Nicholas was Pope even before his coronation. The emperor's right of confirmation is recognized, but only as a privilege granted by the papacy. In reaction, a German synod declared these decrees null and deposed Nicholas, who nonetheless remained Pope in Rome with Norman protection.
  152. Alexander II (1061-73)
    Elected by cardinals. Emperor refused to consider confirmation, but Alexander was enthroned anyway. Roman nobles protested, and German Empress Agnes convoked an assembly that elected antipope Honorius. The usurper forced Alexander out of Rome briefly in 1062, and again for a year (1063-64), before Alexander's legitimacy was unequivocally established.
    Honorius II (Cadalous), Antipope (1061-64)
    Bishops and nobles opposed to the cardinalate's control of papal elections chose as pope Cadalous, who took the name Honorius. He seized Rome in April 1062, but was expelled the next month. In October, Anno of Cologne replaced Empress Agnes as regent, and found Alexander's election valid. Cadalous was excommunicated in 1063, but he was still able to invade Rome and occupy it for a year, until forced to flee. The Council of Mantua condemned him in 1064.
  153. St. Gregory VII (1073-85)
    Elected canonically in the wake of wide acclamation. Deferred consecration until emperor confirmed the election, the last time imperial confirmation was sought. Effectively excommunicated Henry IV in 1075 by banning lay investiture of bishops.
    Clement III, Antipope (1080-1100)
    Emperor Henry IV convoked a synod at Worms (1076) to depose Gregory, and in 1080 he recognized the archbishop of Ravenna as pope. Henry momentarily succeeded in displacing Gregory from Rome (1084), but was soon forced to retreat, and his pawn Clement was recognized only in parts of Germany. Clement's party was able to briefly expel Pope Victor III (1087) and Urban II (1089). By 1098, he was utterly defeated, and retreated to northern Italy. His successors, Theodoric (1100), Aleric (1102), and Maginulf (Sylvester IV) (1105) were completely impotent.
  154. Blessed Victor III (1087)
    Elected pope, but refused to accept the tiara in 1085. In 1086 he was enthroned against his will, and did not assent to his election until 1087, the year he died.
  155. Blessed Urban II (1088-99)
    Elected unanimously; reaffirmed Pope Gregory's acts, including excommunication of emperor.
  156. Paschal II (1099-1118)
    Compelled papal pretenders to do penance, and excommunicated Henry IV, who maintained his right of investiture, and died in 1106. His son, Henry V, imprisoned Paschal for 2 months in 1111, and the pope conceded the right of imperial investiture, while the rest of Christendom condemned Henry.
  157. Gelasius II (1118-19)
    Despite Henry V's efforts to fix the election through the Roman nobility, the cardinals elected a pope without imperial notification. In response, the imperial faction assaulted the pope-elect and imprisoned him. The Romans liberated the pope and enthroned him as Gelasius. Little more than a month later, Henry V forced him to flee, and established the antipope Gregory.
    Gregory VIII, Antipope (1118-1121)
    Henry V declared the election of Gelasius invalid, and bribed some Romans to acclaim as pope the Archbishop of Braga, who had been excommunicated in 1117 for crowning Henry at Rome. The antipope was finally captured by the Romans and imprisoned in 1121. His ordinations were nullified by the First Lateran Council (1123).
  158. Callistus II (1119-24)
    Elected by the cardinals, yet crowned in exile, as the antipope Gregory occupied Rome. He drove out the usurper and imprisoned him in 1121. The Concordat of Worms (1123) settled the investiture controversy, banning lay investiture, yet establishing imperial confirmation of candidates outside the Papal States. This was confirmed by the First Lateran Council.
  159. Celestine II (Teobaldo) (1124) [6]
    Elected pope immediately after Callistus' death, Cardinal Teobaldo's coronation was interrupted by the aristocrat Frangipiani, who intimidated the cardinals into changing their selection. Teobaldo resigned in order to prevent schism.
  160. Honorius II (1124-30)
    Elected two days after Callistus' death, due to intervention of Roberto Frangipiani, who induced the pope-elect to resign and the cardinals to select the Bishop of Ostia. Doubting the legitimacy of his election, the bishop offered to resign, until the cardinals unanimously acclaimed his legitimacy. After the death of Henry V (1125), Honorius helped Lothair get elected king, and the new monarch acknowledged the pope's superiority even in temporal matters.
  161. Innocent II (1130-43)
    Elected by cardinal-bishops the morning after Honorius' death. His election was immediately challenged by the other cardinals, who enthroned Anacletus II at St. Peter's, and Innoceent was consecrated on the same day. Lacking noble support, Innocent fled to France. His claim was supported by the German king and St. Bernard, as well as most of Catholic Europe outside Italy. In 1137, Innocent was restored in Rome, and the acts of Anacletus were nullified at the Second Lateran Council (1139).
    Anacletus II, Antipope (1130-38)
    Elected by the lower cardinals and some cardinal-bishops three hours after Innocent's election. Since Innocent's election had a canonically sufficient number of cardinals, he was a valid pope and Anacletus' election was invalid. Nonetheless, Anacletus had greater support in Rome, and reigned there until his death in 1138.
    Victor IV, Antipope (1138)
    Successor of Anacletus who submitted to Pope Innocent two months later.
  162. Celestine II (1143-44)
    Reigned 5 months.
  163. Lucius II (1144-45)
    Attempted to restore temporal power of pope by dissolving senate established by Innocent II, but he was violently resisted by the Romans.
  164. Blessed Eugene III (1145-53)
    A non-cardinal, elected unanimously, but forced to stay outside Rome, since the people wanted him to submit to the senate in temporal matters. Recognized as pope throughout Europe. After a period of Roman chaos, Eugene agreed to a dual government with the senate, but this failed and he left Italy for France in 1146. In 1148, he returned to Italy, and briefly occupied Rome in 1149. Frederick Barbarossa induced the nobles to submit to the pontiff in 1153.
  165. Anastasius IV (1153-54)
  166. Adrian IV (1154-59)
    Elected unanimously, but Rome was in political revolt, so he interdicted the city and returned only after it submitted in 1155. He crowned Frederick only after the king did him customary homage, but both pope and emperor were forced to abandon Rome in 1155. The pope was able to return to the city in 1157.
  167. Alexander III (1159-81)
    His election was opposed by the emperor, who favored the antipope Victor IV. Alexander was exiled to France (1162-65), but ultimately triumphed over the emperor in 1176. At Third Lateran Council (1179), papal elections were restricted to a two-thirds vote of cardinals.
    Victor IV, Antipope (1159-64)
    Elected by a small minority of cardinals after Alexander's election. The emperor's favorite, he had limited recognition in Germany only.
    Paschal III, Antipope (1164-68)
    Successor of Victor IV, recognized only in parts of Germany.
  168. Lucius III (1181-85)
    Driven from Rome for political reasons in 1182.
  169. Urban III (1185-87)
  170. Gregory VIII (1187)
  171. Clement III (1187-91)
  172. Celestine III (1191-98)
  173. Innocent III (1198-1216)
    Restored temporal power of pope lost since 1185. Asserted right of pope to confirm election of emperor. Asserted supremacy of pope over all Christian nations.
  174. Honorius III (1216-27)
    In an election by compromise, the cardinals chose two of their number to appoint the pope.
  175. Gregory IX (1227-41)
    Elected by compromise in similar fashion to Honorius.
  176. Celestine IV (1241)
    Reigned 15 days.
  177. Innocent IV (1243-54)
    Resisting intimidation by Frederick II, the cardinals elected Innocent at Anagni. The pope fled to France in 1244, and returned to Rome in 1253.
  178. Alexander IV (1254-61)
  179. Urban IV (1261-64)
  180. Clement IV (1265-68)
  181. Blessed Gregory X (1271-76)
    Elected by compromise after a 3-year impasse. This was the first conclave, the rules for which were defined at the Second Council of Lyons (1274).
  182. Blessed Innocent V (1276)
  183. Adrian V, of doubtful validity (1276)
    Died before he was consecrated or even ordained priest, but he was recognized as pope at the time by virtue of accepting election. His only act was ratified by his successor.
  184. John XXI (XX) (1276-77)
    Ratified Adrian V's decision to suspend the laws of papal conclaves.
  185. Nicholas III (1277-80)
    Restored senatorial and municipal power to Roman citizens.
  186. Martin IV (1281-85)
    Elected after 6-month impasse was ended by the imprisonment of 2 Italian cardinals by Charles of Anjou. Could not enter Rome due to his unpopularity as a French pope; dependent on Charles.
  187. Honorius IV (1285-87)
    No conclave. Elected unanimously on first vote.
  188. Nicholas IV (1288-92)
  189. St. Celestine V (1294)
    Elected to resolve impasse, he restored the law of the conclave. His resignation was a canonical controversy, though many previous popes had abdicated. He died in 1296.
  190. Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
    Elected by conclave after Celestine's resignation, he imprisoned his predecessor, who nonetheless escaped, but made no attempt to reclaim the papacy. Celestine's acts were nullified. Boniface's bull Unam Sanctam merely restated traditional scholastic theory about the relation between spiritual and temporal power. Opposed by Philip the Fair, he was captured in 1303, but freed by the Romans.
  191. Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04)
    Pardoned Philip the Fair in order to restore peace with France.
  192. Clement V (1305-14)
    Favored by Philip, he chose to reside in France. Repeated pardon of Philip, but refused to condemn Boniface.
  193. John XXII (XXI) (1316-34)
    Resided at Avignon. Excommunicated Louis of Bavaria for failing to acknowledge right of papal adjudication of disputed imperial election. Louis retaliated by condemning Pope John and establishing an antipope in Rome (1328). His erroneous opinion on the Beatific Vision was not intended to be a papal definition, as he expressly declared.
    Nicholas V, Antipope (1328-30)
    Installed by Louis of Bavaria; repented and received Pope John's pardon in 1330.
  194. Benedict XII (1334-42)
    Resided at Avignon.
  195. Clement VI (1342-52)
    Resided at Avignon. Heavily biased toward France; more of a temporal ruler.
  196. Innocent VI (1352-62)
    Elected with prior agreement to share power with the College of Cardinals, a pact he declared null, as it was contrary to church law and papal power. He resided at Avignon, yet restored authority over Papal States.
  197. Blessed Urban V (1362-70)
    Briefly restored papacy at Rome in 1367, but returned to Avignon in 1370.
  198. Gregory XI (1370-78)
    Unanimously elected at Avignon. Resisted Milanese and Florentine attempts to acquire papal states. Arrived in Rome in 1377; suppressed riots.
  199. Urban VI (1378-89)
    Conclave of 1378 had canonically sufficient number of cardinals (16), while six remained in France. A Roman mob threatened the cardinals, demanding an Italian pope. 15 chose the Archbishop of Bari, while Cardinal Orsini declared himself under duress. The election result was kept secret pending Archbishop Prignano's acceptance, and renewed the next morning. Orsini announced a new pope to the people, without mentioning the name. Rumor spread that Cardinal Tebaldeschi was elected, so the cardinals brought out Tebaldeschi in papal insignia in order to appease the crowd. Tebaldeschi never accepted the papacy, while Prignano was finally installed as Pope Urban VI, receiving submission of all cardinals, including those in Avignon. Within a few weeks, the l3 French cardinals at Rome left for Anagni, and would declare the election illegitimate, later obtaining the support of the three Italian cardinals. In September, Charles V of France encouraged the cardinals to elect a new pope, and they elected Clement VII, beginning the Western Schism. Urban and his successors at Rome were supported in most of Italy and Germany, and all of England, Ireland, and Portugal. Urban excommunicated Clement and his supporters.
    Clement VII, Antipope (1378-94)
    Elected by French conclave at Avignon.
  200. Boniface IX (1389-1404)
    Abolished municipal independence of Rome.
    Benedict XIII, Antipope (1394-1417)
    Successor of Avignon claimant Clement VII. Deposed by Council of Constance, which he did not recognize, but his following became negligible from that point until his death in 1423.
  201. Innocent VII (1404-06)
    Prior to election, he and the other cardinals took an oath to end schism by all possible means, even to the point of abdication. He was forced to flee Rome in 1405 due to popular anger against his murderous nephew; he returned the following year.
  202. Gregory XII (1406-15)
    Unanimously elected at Rome. All candidates swore to abdicate tiara if rival pope would do the same, and Gregory repeated this oath after election. Seven of his cardinals secretly met with the Avignon cardinals and agreed to convene a general council at Pisa in 1409, which deposed both claimants and elected Alexander V as pope. Neither claimant recognized the Council of Pisa. Gregory formally abdicated during the Council of Constance (1415) to end the schism.
    Alexander V, Antipope (1409-1410)
    Elected by Council of Pisa, held in defiance of both papal claimants. Remained in Bologna, though Louis of Anjou occupied Rome in his name in 1410.
    John XXIII, Antipope (1410-1415)
    Successor of Alexander V, elected at Bologna. Drove Benedict from Avignon in 1411; acquired obedience of Naples, and convened a council in Rome in 1412. Driven from Rome by Ladislaus of Naples in 1413, returned to Rome upon death of latter in 1414. Emperor Sigismund had John convoke the Council of Constance, as he had the largest obedience, and John initially presided over the council which would eventually cause him to abdicate in 1415.
  203. Martin V (1417-31)
    After the council secured the abdication of John XXIII and Gregory XII, while Benedict XIII fled to Spain, losing practically all his support, Martin V was elected pope unanimously by a conclave of representatives of five nations. He did not occupy Rome until 1420. Council of Constance required general councils every five years, so Martin convened council at Pavia (moved to Siena) in 1423, only to dissolve it the next year. He promised to convene a new council in Basel within seven years.
  204. Eugene IV (1431-47)
    Dissolved council of Basel convoked by Martin; but council refused to disperse. Emperor Sigismund persuaded Eugene to recognize the council as ecumenical in 1433. Pope fled to Florence after Roman revolution in 1434. He transferred the ecumenical council from Basel to Ferrara, but a minority remained in Basel, eventually electing antipope Felix V.
    Felix V, Antipope (1440-49)
    Elected by conventicle at Basel in 1439; he accepted in 1440. Received little recognition outside Switzerland. Left Basel in 1442, and in 1449 submitted to Nicholas V.
    From Nicholas V to the present, there have been no further irregularities in the election of the Roman pontiff.
  205. Nicholas V (1447-55)
  206. Callistus III (1455-58)
  207. Pius II (1458-64)
  208. Paul II (1464-71)
  209. Sixtus IV (1471-84)
  210. Innocent VIII (1484-92)
  211. Alexander VI (1492-1503)
  212. Pius III (1503)
  213. Julius II (1503-13)
  214. Leo X (1513-21)
  215. Adrian VI (1522-23)
  216. Clement VII (1523-34)
  217. Paul III (1534-49)
  218. Julius III (1550-55)
  219. Marcellus II (1555)
  220. Paul IV (1555-59)
  221. Pius IV (1559-65)
  222. St. Pius V (1566-72)
  223. Gregory XIII (1572-85)
  224. Sixtus V (1585-90)
  225. Urban VII (1590)
  226. Gregory XIV (1590-91)
  227. Innocent IX (1591)
  228. Clement VIII (1592-1605)
  229. Leo XI (1605)
  230. Paul V (1605-21)
  231. Gregory XV (1621-23)
  232. Urban VIII (1623-44)
  233. Innocent X (1644-55)
  234. Alexander VII (1655-67)
  235. Clement IX (1667-69)
  236. Clement X (1670-76)
  237. Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89)
  238. Alexander VIII (1689-91)
  239. Innocent XII (1691-1700)
  240. Clement XI (1700-21)
  241. Innocent XIII (1721-24)
  242. Benedict XIII (1724-30)
  243. Clement XII (1730-40)
  244. Benedict XIV (1740-58)
  245. Clement XIII (1758-69)
  246. Clement XIV (1769-74)
  247. Pius VI (1775-99)
  248. Pius VII (1800-23)
  249. Leo XII (1823-29)
  250. Pius VIII (1829-30)
  251. Gregory XVI (1831-46)
  252. Blessed Pius IX (1846-78)
  253. Leo XIII (1878-1903)
  254. St. Pius X (1903-14)
  255. Benedict XV (1914-22)
  256. Pius XI (1922-39)
  257. Pius XII (1939-58)
  258. Blessed John XXIII (1958-63)
  259. Paul VI (1963-78)
  260. John Paul I (1978)
  261. John Paul II (1978-2005)
  262. Benedict XVI (2005-2013)
    Abdicated for health reasons.
  263. Franciscus (2013-)


[1] Pope-elect Stephen is included in some papal lists, though omitted in many.

[2] Leo VIII is included in many papal lists.

[3] Sylvester III is included in many papal lists.

[4] Many lists count Benedict IX's second reign as a distinct papacy.

[5] Many lists count Benedict IX's third reign as a distinct papacy.

[6] Celestine II is excluded from many papal lists, though the Celestines are still numbered by including him.

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