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Prophecies of St. Malachy

The prophecies of St. Malachy is the most famous and best known prophecies about the popes.  St Malachy went to Rome in 1139 to give an account of affairs to the pope, Innocent II, of his diocese.  The Pope promised him two palliums for the metropolitan Sees of Armagh, and Cashel.

St MalachyWhile in Rome, according to the Abbé Cucherat, St Malachy, the bishop of Armagh, in Northern Ireland, had a strange vision of the future where he was shown the long list of pontiffs who were to rule the Church until the end of time.  

Abbé Cucherat also tells us that St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II in order to console him because of tribulations of the time.  The Prophecies of St. Malachy remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590.

Prophecy or hoax?

The prophecies of St. Malachy were first published by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine historian.  Ever since then, there has been debate as to if they are genuine predictions of St. Malachy or forgeries.  There was not a word written about the prophecies of St. Malachy for 400 years even though many authors had written about the popes.  

It is especially odd that St. Bernard, who wrote the "Life of St. Malachy", never mentioned any prophecies of St. Malachy.  This is a strong argument against their authenticity, but not conclusive if we accept Cucherat's theory that they were hidden in the Archives during those 400 years.

These short prophetical announcements about each pope, 112 in all, describe some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1130, until the end of the world.  Each pope in turn was given a cryptic title which identifies him.  

All those who have decided to interpret and explain these symbolic prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, implication, point, or resemblance, to describe each of the individual popes.  

These descriptions have been either about their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held or some other part of their lives.

Prophetic Symbolism

For example, the prophecy concerning Urban VIII is Lilium et Rosa (the lily and the rose).  Urban VIII was a native of Florence and on the arms of Florence were a fleur-de-lis.  He had three bees emblazoned on his escutcheon, and bees gather honey from lilies and roses.  The name often fits with some remarkable or rare circumstance in the pope's life or career. 

So Peregrinus apostolicus (pilgrim pope), which designates Pius VI, appears to be verified by his journey to Germany when he was pope.  It might also be for his long career as pope, or by his expatriation from Rome at the end of his pontificate.  It may be all three combined, which metaphorically was a long journey, or pilgrimage. 

Those who lived and followed the course of events during the pontificates of Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X were extremely impressed with the titles given to each of them by the prophecies of St. Malachy. Pius IX was known as Crux de Cruce (Cross from a Cross), Leo XIII was Lumen in cælo (Light in the Sky), Puis X was Ignis ardens (Burning Fire).  

There may be something more than coincidence in the prophetic titles that were given to these three popes so many hundreds of years before their time.  With these three, you don’t need to look at either the family names, coats of arms, or cardinalatial titles, to see the fitness of their designations given in the prophecies by St Malachy.  

The adversities of Pius IX were more than a lot of his predecessors, Pius IX had a lot of crosses to bear.  The more aggravating of these crosses were caused by the House of Savoy whose emblem was a cross.  Leo XIII was a shining light of the papacy, according to the people of the time, and Pius X was said to truly be a burning fire of zeal for the restoration of all things to Christ.

Each pope was named in turn. Even the most recent of popes was accurately named.  In 1978 pope John Paul I was elected in August, at the half moon.  He died about a month later.  So the entire papacy of John Paul I was from one half moon to the next half moon.  The name given to Pope John Paul I in the prophecies of St. Malachy?  De medietate Lunæ (of the half of the moon). 

The End of The World

The last of these prophecies concerns the end of the world. It reads:

"In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus"

The translation reads:

"In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End."

Pope Benedict XVIThere are those who say that since the prophecy of St. Malachy didn’t specifically say that there would be no popes between pope Benedict XV, and Peter the Roman (Petrus Romanus), that there could be a long line of unnamed popes between. 

The problem with this theory, is that the prophecy does say that it is a list of all popes from Celestine II to the end of the world.  If you accept the prophecy as valid, then you have to conclude that the current pope, Benedict XVI, is the next to last before the end of the world.

Note: The Pope numbers given are from another work, and do not fit with the official counting of the Vatican.  The current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope.  This discrepancy in the numbering is unexplainable at this time.

The Prophecies

Pope No.

Name (Reign)

Motto No.

Motto (and explanation)


Celestine II (1143-1144)


Ex castro Tyberis
(from a castle on the Tiber)
Hist.: Celestin II was born in Citta di Castello, Toscany, on the shores of the Tiber


Lucius II (1144-1145)


Inimicus expulsus
(Enemy expelled)

This motto refers to Gherardo Caccianemici’s surname. “Cacciare” means “to hunt”, and “nemici” is the Italian word for “enemies”. As his name foreshadowed, Caccianemici would be driven from Rome by his own subjects.


Eugene III (1145-1153)


Ex magnitudine montis
(Of the greatness of the mount)
Hist.: Born in the castle of Grammont (latin: mons magnus), his family name was Montemagno


Anastasius IV (1153-1154)


Abbas Suburranus
(Suburran abbot)
From the Suburra family.


Adrian IV (1154-1159)


De rure albo
(field of Albe)
Hist.: Born in the town of Saint-Alban


Victor IV (1159-1164)


Ex tetro carcere
(Out of a loathsome prison)
He was a cardinal of St. Nicholas in the Tullian prison.


Paschal III (1164-1168)


Via trans-Tyberina
(Road across the Tiber)
Guido of Crema, Cardinal of St. Mary across the Tiber.
As a cardinal, he had held the title of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


Calistus III (1168-1178)


De Pannonia Tusciæ
(From Tusculan Hungary)
Antipope. A Hungarian by birth, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.
He was John, Abbot of originally from Hungary.


Alexander III (1159-1181)


Ex ansere custode
(Out of the guardian goose)
Of the Paparoni family.
His family's coat of arms had a goose on it.


Lucius III (1181-1185)


Lux in ostio
(A light in the entrance)
A Luccan Cardinal of Ostia.
In 1159, he became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. Lux may also be a wordplay on Lucius.


Urban III (1185-1187)


Sus in cribo
(Pig in a sieve)
A Milanese, of the Cribella (Crivelli) family, which bears a pig for arms.
His family name Crivelli means "a sieve" in Italian.


Gregory VIII (1187)


Ensis Laurentii
(The sword of St. Lawrence)
Cardinal of St. Lawrence in Lucina, of whom the arms were curved swords.
He had been the Cardinal of St. Lawrence and his armorial bearing was a drawn sword.


Clement III (1187-1191)


De schola exiet
(He will come from school)
A Roman, of the house of Scolari. His family name was Scolari.


Celestine III (1191-1198)


De rure bovensi
(From cattle country)
Bovensis (Bobone) family.
He was from the Bobone family; a wordplay on cattle (boves).


Innocent III (1198-1216)


Comes signatus
(signed Count)
Hist.: descendant of the noble Signy, later called Segni family


Honorius III (1216-1227)


Canonicus de latere
(Canon from the side)
Savelli family, canon of St. John Lateran
He was a canon for the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and had served as papal chamberlain in 1188.


Gregory IX (1227-1241)


Avis Ostiensis
(Bird of Ostia)
Hist.: before his election he was Cardinal of Ostia


Celestine IV (1241)


Leo Sabinus
(Sabine Lion)
A Milanese, whose arms were a lion, Cardinal Bishop of Sabina. He was Cardinal Bishop of Sabina and his armorial bearing had a lion in it. Also a play on words, referring to the pope's last name, Castiglioni.


Innocent IV (1243-1254)


Comes Laurentius
(Count Lawrence)
Of the house of Flisca (Fieschi), Count of Lavagna, Cardinal of St. Lawrence in Lucina. He was the Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucca, and his father was the Count of Lavagna.


Alexander IV (1254-1261)


Signum Ostiense
(Sign of Ostia)
Of the counts of Segni, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.
He was Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and member of the Conti-Segni family.


Urban IV (1261-1264)


Hierusalem Campaniæ
(Jerusalem of Champagne)
Hist.: native of Troyes, Champagne, later patriarch of Jerusalem


Clement IV (1265-1268)


Draca depressus
(Dragon pressed down)
Whose badge is an eagle holding a dragon in his talons.
His coat of arms had an eagle crushing a dragon.


Gregory X (1271-1276)


Anguinus vir
(Snaky man)
A Milanese, of the family of Viscounts (Visconti), which bears a snake for arms.
The Visconti coat of arms had a large serpent devouring a male child feet first.


Innocent V (1276)


Concionatur Gallus
(French Preacher)
A Frenchman, of the Order of Preachers. He was born in south-eastern France and was a member of the order of Preachers.


Adrian V (1276)


Bonus Comes
(Good Count/companion)
Ottobono, of the Fieschi family, from the counts of Lavagna.
He was a count and a wordplay on "good" can be made with his name, Ottobono.


John XXI (1276-1277)


Piscator Tuscus
(Tuscan Fisherman)
Formerly John Peter, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.
John XXI had been the Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.


Nicholas III (1277-1280)


Rosa composita
(Composite Rose)
Of the Ursina (Orsini) family, which bears a rose on its arms, called 'composite'.
He bore a rose in his coat of arms.


Martin IV (1281-1285)


Ex teloneo liliacei Martini
(From the tollhouse of lilied Martin)
Whose arms were lilies, canon and treasurer of St. Martin of Tours.
He was Canon and Treasurer at the Church of St. Martin in Tours, France.


Honorius IV (1285-1287)


Ex rosa leonina
(Out of the leonine rose)
Of the Sabella (Savelli) family, arms were a rose carried by lions.
His coat of arms were emblazoned with two lions supporting a rose.


Nicholas IV (1288-1292)


Picus inter escas
(Woodpecker between food)
A Picene by nation, of Asculum (Ascoli).
He was from Ascoli, now called Ascoli Piceno, in Picene country.


Nicholas IV (1288-1292)


Ex eremo celsus
(elevated from a hermit)
Hist.: prior to his election he was a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles


Boniface VIII (1294-1303)


Ex undarum benedictione
(From the blessing of the waves)
Previously called Benedict, of Gaeta, whose arms were waves.
His coat of arms had a wave through it. Also a play on words, referring to the pope's Christian name, "Benedetto."


Benedict XI (1303-1304)


Concionator patereus
(Preacher From Patara)
Who was called Brother Nicholas, of the order of Preachers.
This Pope belonged to the Order of Preachers. Patara was the hometown of Saint Nicholas, a namesake of this Pope (born Nicholas Boccasini).


Clement V (1305-1314)


De fessis Aquitanicis
(ribbon of Aquitaine)
Hist.: was archbishop of Bordeaux in Aquitaine


John XXII (1316-1334)


De sutore osseo
(of the cobbler of Osseo)
Hist.: Family name Ossa, son of a shoe-maker


Nicholas V (1328-1330)


Corvus schismaticus
(the schismatic crow)
Note the reference to the schism, the only antipope at this period


Benedict XII (1334-1342)


Frigidus Abbas
(cold friar)
Hist.: he was a priest in the monastery of Frontfroid (coldfront)


Clement VI (1342-1352)


De rosa Attrebatensi
(From the rose of Arras)
Bishop of Arras, whose arms were roses.
He was Bishop of Arras, (Latin: Episcopus Atrebatensis), and his armorial bearings were emblazoned with six roses.


Innocent VI (1352-1362)


De montibus Pammachii
(From the mountains of Pammachius)
Cardinal of Saints John and Paul, Titulus of Pammachius, whose arms were six mountains.
Pope Innocent was born at Mont in the diocese of Limoges, France, and he rose to prominence as the Bishop of Clermont. He had been a cardinal priest with the title of St. Pammachius (i.e., the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Rome)


Urban V (1362-1370)


Gallus Vicecomes
(French viscount)
Apostolic nuncio to the Viscounts of Milan.
He was born of a noble French family.


Gregory XI (1370-1378)


Novus de Virgine forti
(novel of the virgin fort)
Hist.: count of Beaufort, later Cardinal of Ste-Marie La Neuve


Clement VII (1378-1394)


De cruce Apostilica
(From the apostolic cross)
Who was Cardinal Priest of the Twelve Holy Apostles, whose arms were a cross.
His coat of arms showed a cross, quarterly pierced.


Benedict XIII (1394-1423)


Luna Cosmedina
(Cosmedine moon)
Formerly Peter de Luna, Cardinal Deacon of St. Mary in Cosmedin.
He was the famous Peter de Luna, Cardinal of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


Clement VIII (1423-1429)


Schisma Barcinonicum
(Schism of the Barcelonas)
Antipope, who was a canon of Barcelona.


Urban VI (1378-1389)


De Inferno pregnani(From the hell of Pregnani)
Hist.: He was a town called Inferno in the region of Pregnani.


Boniface IX (1389-1404)


Cubus de mixtione
(Cube from a mixture)
Of the Tomacelli family, born in Genoa in Liguria, whose arms were cubes.
His coat of arms includes a bend checky — a wide stripe with a checkerboard pattern.


Innocent VII (1404-1406)


De meliore sydere
(From a better star)
Called Cosmato dei Migliorati of Sulmo, whose arms were a star.
The prophecy is a play on words, "better" (melior) referring to the pope's last name, Migliorati (Meliorati). There is a shooting star on his coat of arms.


Gregory XII (1406-1415)


Nauta de ponte nigro
(Sailor from a black bridge)
A Venetian, commendatary of the church of Negroponte.


Alexander V (1409-1410)


Flagellum Solis
(Whip of the sun)
A Greek, Archibishop of Milan, whose arms were a sun.
His coat of arms had a large sun on it. Also, a play on words, referring to the pope's last name, "Philarges."


John XXIII (1410-1415)


Cervus Sirenæ
(Stag of the siren)
Cardinal Deacon of St. Eustace, who is depicted with a stag; legate of Bologna, a Neapolitan.
Baldassarre Cossa was a cardinal with the title of St. Eustachius. St. Eustachius converted to Christianity after he saw a stag with a cross between its horns. Baldassarre's family was originally from Naples, which has the emblem of the siren.


Martin V (1417-1431)


Corona veli aurei
(Crown of the golden curtain)
Of the Colonna family, Cardinal Deacon of St. George at the golden curtain.
Oddone Colonna was the Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro. The word "Velabrum" is here interpeted as derived from "velum aureum", or golden veil. His coat of arms had a golden crown resting atop a column.


Eugene IV (1431-1447)


Lupa cælestina
(Heavenly she-wolf)
A Venetian, formerly a regular Celestine canon, and Bishop of Siena.
He belonged to the order of the Celestines and was the Bishop of Siena which bears a she-wolf on its arms.


Felix V (1439-1449)


Amator crucis
(Lover of the cross)
Who was called Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, arms were a cross.
He was previously the count of Savoy and therefore his coat of arms contained the cross of Savoy. Also, the prophecy is a play on words, referring to the antipope's Christian name, "Amadeus."


Nicholas V (1447-1455)


De modicitate lunæ
(From the meanness of Luna)
A Lunese of Sarzana, born to humble parents.
He was born in Sarzana in the diocese of Luni, the ancient name of which was Luna.


Callistus III (1455-1458)


Bos pascens
(grazing ox)
Hist.: Alphonse Borgia's arms sported a golden grazing ox


Pius II (1458-1464)


De capra et Albergo
(From a nanny-goat and an inn)
A Sienese, who was secretary to Cardinals Capranicus and Albergatus.
He had been secretary to Cardinal Domenico Capranica and Cardinal Albergatti before he was elected Pope.


Paul II (1464-1471)


De cervo et Leone
(From a stag and lion)
A Venetian, who was Commendatary of the church of Cervia, and Cardinal of the title of St. Mark.
Possibly refers to his Bishopric of Cervia (punning on cervus, "a stag") and his Cardinal title of St. Mark (symbolized by a winged lion).


Sixtus IV (1471-1484)


Piscator Minorita
(Minorite fisherman)
Son of a fisherman, Franciscan.
He was born the son of a fisherman and a member of the Franciscans, also known as "Minorites".


Innocent VIII (1484-1492)


Præcursor Siciliæ
(Forerunner of Sicily)
Who was called John Baptist, and lived in the court of Alfonso, king of Sicily.
Giovanni Battista Cibò was named after John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ. In his early years, Giovanni served as the Bishop of Molfetta in Sicily.


Alexander VI (1492-1503)


Bos Albanus in portu
(Bull of Alba in the harbor)
Cardinal Bishop of Albano and Porto, whose arms were a bull.
In 1456, he was made a Cardinal and he held the titles of Cardinal Bishop of Albano and Porto. Also, Pope Alexander had a red bull on his coat of arms


Pius III (1503)


De parvo homine
(From a small man)
A Sienese, of the Piccolomini family.
His family name was Piccolomini, from piccolo "small" and uomo "man".


Julius II (1503-1513)


Fructus jovis juvabit
(The fruit of Jupiter will help)
A Genoese, his arms were an oak, Jupiter's tree.
On his arms was an oak tree, which was sacred to Jupiter. Pope Julius' family name, "Della Rovere," literally means "of the oak."


Leo X (1513-1521)


De craticula Politiana
(From a Politian gridiron)
Son of Lorenzo de' Medici, and student of Angelo Poliziano.
His educator and mentor was the distinguished humanist and scholar, Angelo Poliziano. The “Gridiron” is the motto evidently refers to St. Lawrence, who was martyred on a gridiron. This is a rather elliptical allusion to Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was Giovanni’s father.


Adrian VI (1522-1523)


Leo Florentius
(Florentian lion)
Son of Florentius, his arms were a lion.
His coat of arms had two lions on it, and his name is sometimes given as Adriaan Florens, or other variants, from his father's first name Florens (Florentius).


Clement VII (1523-1534)


Flos pilæi ægri
(Flower of the sick man's pill)
A Florentine of the Medicean house, his arms were pill-balls and lilies.
The Medici coat of arms were emblazoned with six medical balls. One of these balls, the largest of the six, was emblazoned with the Florentine lily.


Paul III (1534-1549)


Hiacynthus medicorum
(Hyacinth of the physicians)
Farnese, who bore lilies for arms, and was Cardinal of Saints Cosmas and Damian.
Pope Paul's coat of arms were charged with six hyacinths.


Julius III (1550-1555)


De corona Montana
(From the mountainous crown)
Formerly called Giovanni Maria of the Mountain (de Monte)
His coat of arms showed mountains and palm branches laid out in a pattern much like a crown.


Marcellus II (1555)


Frumentum floccidum
(Trifling grain)
Whose arms were a stag and grain; 'trifling', because he lived only a short time as pope.
His coat of arms showed a stag and ears of wheat.


Paul IV (1555-1559)


De fide Petri
(From Peter's faith)
Formerly called John Peter Caraffa.
He is said to have used his second Christian name Pietro.


Pius IV (1559-1565)


Æsculapii pharmacum
(Aesculapius' medicine)
Aesculapius was the Greek God of healing
Formerly called Giovanni Angelo Medici.

His family name was Medici.


St. Pius V (1566-1572)


Angelus nemorosus
(Angel of the grove)
Called Michael, born in the town of Bosco.
He was born in Bosco, (Lombardy); the placename means grove. His name was 'Antonio Michele Ghisleri', and Michele relates to the archangel.


Gregory XIII (1572-1585)


Medium corpus pilarum
(Half body of the balls)
Whose arms were a half-dragon. A Cardinal created by Pius IV who bore balls in his arms.
The "balls" in the motto refer to Pope Pius IV, who had made Gregory a cardinal. Pope Gregory had a dragon on his coat of arms with half a body.


Sixtus V (1585-1590)


Axis in medietate signi
(Axle in the midst of a sign)
Who bears in his arms an axle in the middle of a lion.
This is a rather straightforward description of the pope's coat of arms.


Urban VII (1590)


De rore cæli
(From the dew of the sky)
Who was Archbishop of Rossano in Calabria, where manna is collected.
He had been Archbishop of Rossano in Calabria where sap called "the dew of heaven" is gathered from trees.


Gregory XIV (1590-1591)


De antiquitate Urbis
(Of the antiquity of the city)
His father was a senator of the ancient city of Milan. The word "senator" is derived from the Latin word "senex", meaning old man.


Innocent IX (1591)


Pia civitas in bello
(Pious city in war)
He was the Patriarch of Jerusalem before succeeding to the Papacy.


Clement VIII (1592-1605)


Crux Romulea
(Cross of Romulus <Rome>)
He had been a cardinal with the title of Saint Pancratius. Saint Pancratius was a Roman martyr.


Leo XI (1605)


Undosus Vir
(Wavy man)
He had been the Bishop of Palestrina. The ancient Romans attributed the origins of Palestrina to the seafaring hero Ulysses. Also, he had only reigned for 27 days.


Paul V (1605-1621)


Gens perversa
(Corrupted nation)
Pope Paul scandalized the Church when he appointed his nephew to the College of Cardinals. The word "nepotism" may have originated during the reign of this pope.


Gregory XV (1621-1623)


In tribulatione pacis
(In the trouble of peace)
His reign corresponded with the outbreak of the Thirty Years War.


Urban VIII (1623-1644)


Lilium et rosa
(Lily and rose)
He was a native of Florence. Florence, in Italy, has a red lily on its coat of arms.


Innocent X (1644-1655)


Jucunditas crucis
(Delight of the cross)
He was raised to the pontificate after a long and difficult Conclave on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (off by a day).


Alexander VII (1655-1667)


Montium custos
(Guard of the mountains)
His family arms include six hills with a star above them.


Clement IX (1667-1669)


Sydus Olorum
(constellation of swans)
Hist.: upon his election, he was apparently the occupant of the Chamber of Swans in the Vatican.


Clement X (1670-1676)


De flumine magno
(From a great river)
Pope Clement was a native of Rome.


Innocent XI (1676-1689)


Bellua insatiabilis
(Insatiable beast)
Pope Innocent had a lion on his coat of arms.


Alexander VIII (1689-1691)


Pœnitentia gloriosa
(Glorious penitence)
His first name was "Pietro". The apostle Peter repented after he had denied his master three times.


Innocent XII (1691-1700)


Rastrum in porta
(Rake in the door)
His full name was Antonio Pignatelli del Rastrello. "Rastrello" in Italian means "rake."


Clement XI (1700-1721)


Flores circumdati
(Surrounded flowers)
He had been a cardinal with the title of San Maria in Aquiro.


Innocent XIII (1721-1724)


De bona Religione
(From good religion)
A play on words, referring to the pope's chosen name, "Innocent." He was from the famous Conti family which had produced several Popes.


Benedict XIII (1724-1730)


Miles in bello
(Soldier in War)


Clement XII (1730-1740)


Columna excelsa
(Lofty column)
When still a cardinal, he had held the title of St. Peter in Chains. The name "Peter" is derived from the Greek word "petros," meaning "rock." Clement was a frustrated architect who ordered, and sometimes interfered with, the building of many churches. He managed to salvage two columns of the Parthenon for his chapel at Mantua.


Benedict XIV (1740-1758)


Animal rurale
(Country animal)
Referencing his given surname of Lambertini. Lamb being a rural animal.


Clement XIII (1758-1769)


Rosa Umbriæ
(Rose of Umbria)
He had been a cardinal with the title of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. In mystical circles, the Virgin Mary is represented by a rose.


Clement XIV (1769-1774)


Ursus velox
(Swift bear) <later misprinted as Cursus velox Swift Course or Visus velox Swift Glance>
The Ganganelli family crest bore a running bear.


Pius VI (1775-1799)


Peregrinus Apostolicus
(Apostolic pilgrim)
Spent the last two years of his life in exile, a prisoner of the French Revolution.


Pius VII (1800-1823)


Aquila rapax
(Rapacious eagle)
The Pope's pontificate was overshadowed by Napoleon, whose emblem was the eagle.


Leo XII (1823-1829)


Canis et coluber
(Dog and adder)
"Dog" and "snake" are common insults, and Leo was widely hated. The legend could be an allusion to the pope's last name, Sermattei. "Serpente" is the Italian word for snake.


Pius VIII (1829-1830)


Vir religiosus
(Religious man)
Another play on words, referring to the pope's chosen name, "Pius".


Gregory XVI (1831-1846)


De balneis hetruriæ
(bath of Etruria)
Hist.: prior to his election he was member of an order founded by Saint Romuald, at Balneo, in Etruria, present day Toscany.


Pius IX (1846-1878)


Crux de cruce
(Cross of Crosses)
Hist.:Pius XI was the last Pope to reign over the Papal States (the middle third of what is today Italy). He ended up being a prisoner of the Vatican, never venturing outside Vatican City. A much heavier burden than his predecessors.


Leo XIII (1878-1903)


Lumen in cælo(Light in the Heavens)
Hist.: Leo XIII wrote encyclicals on Catholic social teaching that were still being digested 100 years later. He added considerably to theology.


St. Pius X (1903-1914)


Ignis ardens
(ardent fire)
Hist.: The Pope had great personal piety and achieved a number of important reforms in the devotional and liturgical life of priests and laypeople.


Benedict XV (1914-1922)


Religio depopulata
(Religion laid waste)
Hist.: This Pope reigned during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia which store the establishment of Communism.


Pius XI (1922-1939)


Fides intrepida
(Intrepid faith)
Hist.: This Pope stood up to Fascist and Communist forces lining up against him in the lead up to World War II.


Pius XII (1939-1958)


Pastor angelicus
(Angelic Shepherd)
Hist.: This Pope was very mystical, and is believed to have received visions. People would kneel when they received telephone calls from him. His encyclicals add enormously to the understanding of Catholic beliefs (even if they are now overlooked because of focus on the Second Vatican Council, which occurred so soon after his reign).


John XXIII (1958-1963)


Pastor et Nauta
(pastor and marine)
Hist.: prior to his election he was patriarch of Venice, a marine city, home of the gondolas


Paul VI (1963-1978)


Flos florum
(flower of flowers)
Hist.: his arms displayed three lilies.


John Paul I (1978)


De medietate Lunæ
(of the half of the moon)
Hist.: Albino Luciani, born in Canale d'Agardo, diocese of Belluno, (beautiful moon) Elected pope on August 26, his reign lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half...


John Paul II (1978-2005)


De labore Solis
(of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labour of the sun)
Hist.: Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse. He also comes from behind the former Iron Curtain (the East, where the Sun rises). He might also be seen to be the fruit of the intercession of the Woman Clothed with the Sun labouring in Revelation 12 (because of his devotion to the Virgin Mary). His Funeral occurred on 8 April, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas.


Benedict XVI (2005-)


Gloria olivæ
The Benedictine order traditionally said this Pope would come from their order, since a branch of the Benedictine order is called the Olivetans. St Benedict is said to have prophesied that before the end of the world, a member of his order would be Pope and would triumphantly lead the Church in its fight against evil. While the Holy Father chose the name "Benedict", this does not seem enough to fulfil the prophecy. Nor is it clear how Benedict XVI (a Bavarian) is "Glory of the Olives". Since he is said to have remarked in the Conclave after saying he would take the name Benedict that it was partly to honour Benedict XV, a pope of peace and reconciliation, perhaps Benedict XVI will be a peacemaker in the Church or in the World, and thus carry the olive branch.

268 Peter The Roman


In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
(In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End.)

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