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Popes of the Roman Catholic Church

According to Catholic tradition, Jesus founded the papacy in the first century, when he chose St. Peter, the leader of the apostles, to be his earthly representative. "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church," he states in chapter 16 of Matthew. "I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Those words, which now circle the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, serve as the biblical mandate for the papacy. All popes are considered symbolic descendants of Peter and are thought to hold "Peter's Chair"

Since then, there have been more than 260 occupants of the papal office. The institution has endured through the defining moments of European history, including the split of the Roman Empire, the bloodbath of the crusades and the rise of the Italian Renaissance. More recently, popes have struggled to reconcile the strict traditions of doctrinaire Catholicism with the realities of modern life, including defending firm stances against abortion and the death penalty. Here, a short history of some of the most notable occupants of "St. Peter's Chair."

Recent Popes

Francis I

Francis I

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born December 17, 1936 is the newly elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Taking the regnal name of Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi Bergoglio served as an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Serving as ...

Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI

is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass ...

Sort By: Date - Ascending / Descending | Name - A-Z / Z-A
Francis I2013-Current
Benedict XVI2005-2013
Saint John Paul II1978-2005
John Paul I1978
Paul VI1963-1978
Saint John XXIII1958-1963
Pius XII1939-1958
Pius XI1922-1939
Benedict XV1914-1922
St. Pius X1903-1914
Leo XIII1878-1903
Blessed Pius IX1846-1878
Gregory XVI1831-1846
Pius VIII1829-1830
Leo XII1823-1829
Pius VII1800-1823
Pius VI1775-1799
Clement XIV1769-1774
Clement XIII1758-1769
Benedict XIV1740-1758
Clement XII1730-1740
Benedict XIII1724-1730
Innocent XIII1721-1724
Clement XI1700-1721
Innocent XII1691-1700
Alexander VIII1689-1691
Blessed Innocent XI1676-1689
Clement X1670-1676
Clement IX1667-1669
Alexander VII1655-1667
Innocent X1644-1655
Urban VIII1623-1644
Pope Gregory XV1621-1623
Paul V1605-1621
Leo XI1605
Clement VIII1592-1605
Innocent IX1591
Gregory XIV1590-1591
Urban VII1590
Sixtus V1585-1590
Gregory XIII1572-1585
St. Pius V1566-1572
Pius IV1559-1565
Paul IV1555-1559
Marcellus II1555
Julius III1550-1555
Paul III1534-1549
Clement VII1523-1534
Adrian VI1522-1523
Leo X1513-1521
Julius II1503-1513
Pius III1503
Alexander VI1492-1503
Innocent VIII1484-1492
Sixtus IV1471-1484
Paul II1464-1471
Pius II1458-1464
Callistus III1455-1458
Nicholas V1447-1455
Eugene IV1431-1447
Martin V1417-1431
Gregory XII1406-1415
Innocent VII1404-1406
Boniface IX1389-1404
Urban VI1378-1389
Gregory XI1370-1378
Blessed Urban V1362-1370
Innocent VI1352-1362
Clement VI1342-1352
Benedict XII1334-1342
John XXII1316-1334
Clement V1305-1314
Blessed Benedict XI1303-1304
Boniface VIII1294-1303
St. Celestine V1294
Nicholas IV1288-1292
Honorius IV1285-1287
Martin IV1281-1285
Nicholas III1277-1280
John XXI1276-1277
Adrian V1276
Blessed Innocent V1276
Blessed Gregory X1271-1276
Clement IV1265-1268
Urban IV1261-1264
Alexander IV1254-1261
Innocent IV1243-1254
Celestine IV1241
Gregory IX1227-1241
Honorius III1216-1227
Innocent III1198-1216
Celestine III1191-1198
Clement III1187-1191
Gregory VIII1187
Urban III1185-1187
Lucius III1181-1185
Alexander III1159-1181
Adrian IV1154-1159
Anastasius IV1153-1154
Blessed Eugene III1145-1153
Lucius II1144-1145
Celestine II1143-1144
Innocent II1130-1143
Honorius II1124-1130
Callistus II1119-1124
Gelasius II1118
Paschal II1099-1118
Blessed Urban II1088-1099
Blessed Victor III1086-1087
St. Gregory VII1073-1085
Alexander II1061-1073
Nicholas II1058-1061
Stephen X1057-1058
Victor II1055-1057
St. Leo IX1049-1054
Damasus II1048
Clement II1046-1047
Gregory VI1045-1046
Sylvester III1045
Benedict IX1032-1045
John XIX1024-1032
Benedict VIII1012-1024
Sergius IV1009-1012
John XVIII1003-1009
John XVII1003
Sylvester II999-1003
Gregory V996-999
John XV985-996
John XIV983-984
Benedict VII974-983
Benedict VI973-974
John XIII965-972
Benedict V964
Leo VIII963-964
John XII955-963
Agapetus II946-955
Marinus II942-946
Stephen IX939-942
Leo VII936-939
John XI931-935
Stephen VIII929-931
Leo VI928
John X914-928
Anastasius III911-913
Sergius III904-911
Leo V903
Benedict IV900-903
John IX898-900
Theodore II897
Stephen VII896-897
Boniface VI896
Stephen VI885-891
St. Adrian III884-885
Marinus I882-884
John VIII872-882
Adrian II867-872
St. Nicholas I (the Great)858-867
Benedict III855-858
St. Leo IV847-855
Sergius II844-847
Gregory IV827-844
Eugene II824-827
St. Paschal I817-824
Stephen V816-817
St. Leo III795-816
Adrian I772-795
Stephen IV767-772
St. Paul I757-767
Stephen III752-757
Stephen II752
St. Zachary741-752
St. Gregory III731-741
St. Gregory II715-731
John VII705-707
John VI701-705
St. Sergius I687-701
John V685-686
St. Benedict II684-685
St. Leo II682-683
St. Agatho678-681
Adeodatus (II)672-676
St. Vitalian657-672
St. Eugene I655-657
St. Martin I649-655
Theodore I642-649
John IV640-642
Honorius I625-638
Boniface V619-625
St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I)615-618
St. Boniface IV608-615
Boniface III607
St. Gregory I (the Great)590-604
Pelagius II579-590
Benedict I575-579
John III561-574
Pelagius I556-561
St. Silverius536-537
St. Agapetus I -- also called Agapitus I535-536
John II533-535
Boniface II530-532
St. Felix IV (III)526-530
St. John I523-526
St. Hormisdas514-523
St. Symmachus498-514
Anastasius II496-498
St. Gelasius I492-496
St. Felix III (II)483-492
St. Simplicius468-483
St. Hilarius461-468
St. Leo I (the Great)440-461
St. Sixtus III432-440
St. Celestine I422-432
St. Boniface I418-422
St. Zosimus417-418
St. Innocent I401-417
St. Anastasius I399-401
St. Siricius384-399
St. Damasus I366-383
St. Julius I337-352
St. Marcus336
St. Sylvester I314-335
St. Miltiades311-314
St. Eusebius309-310
St. Marcellus I308-309
St. Marcellinus296-304
St. Caius -- also called Gaius283-296
St. Eutychian275-283
St. Felix I269-274
St. Dionysius260-268
St. Sixtus II257
St. Stephen I254-257
St. Lucius I253-254
St. Cornelius251-253
St. Fabian236-250
St. Anterus235-236
St. Pontain230-235
St. Urban I222-230
St. Callistus I217-222
St. Zephyrinus199-217
St. Victor I189-199
St. Eleutherius175-189
St. Soter166-175
St. Anicetus155-156
St. Pius I140-155
St. Hyginus136-140
St. Telesphorus125-136
St. Sixtus I -- also called Xystus I115-125
St. Alexander I105-115
St. Evaristus97-105
St. Clement I88-97
St. Anacletus (Cletus)76-88
St. Linus67-76
St. Peter32-67

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