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The head of the Roman Catholic Church, elected by cardinals of that church. Normally celibate, although some notable exceptions occur to this during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

During the middle Ages, the pope could have enormous power (see crusade). Theoretically, there is only one pope. However, several times during the middle Ages there were multiple popes, each of which claimed they were the legitimate and rightful pope. The ones who eventually lost are known as antipopes. Inded, there was even a period in which, later critics were to claim, the papacy was controlled by the female members of a Roman aristocratic family, who variously seduced incumbents, or controlled the Roman mob and thereby the cardinals-elector (on the occasions when elections took place, as opposed to the position being in effect sold in advance, with the electoral college simply being asked to assent to a fait accompli).

The modern pope lives in Vatican, a religious city state in Italy, but originally the pope lived in Rome, although a few popes and antipopes set up their capital elsewhere (eg Clement V in Avignon).

A pope is properly addressed as "Your Holiness".


A list of mid to late medieval popes can be found at : [[1]] Unfortunately this leaves out the antipopes, which can be seen in the briefer listing at: [[2]]

The Holy See published a list of the longest serving popes earlier in 2013: [[3]]

Wikipedia has a full list of popes, which also links to a list of antipopes, including one or two nutbars with extra almonds.

It could be observed that popes who are called Pius or Innocent are neither Pious nor Innocent.