Insight

Prophecy of St. Malachy

Since Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, there has been a battle going on in Wikipedia between editors who want the entire Prophecy of St. Malachy to be available and those who want to remove all of the mottos that date after 1595, which was the year it was published. In other words, they want to censor the prophetic part, probably because of its uncanny accuracy. We are depositing a permanent record here, lest it be censored or changed on a wider basis.

The Prophecy of the Popes is a series of of 112 short, cryptic phrases in Latin which purport to predict the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few antipopes), beginning with Pope Celestine II. The prophecies were first published by Benedictine Arnold de Wyon in 1595. Wyon attributes the prophecies to Saint Malachy, the 12th‑century Archbishop of Armagh. Given the very accurate description of popes up to 1590 and lack of accuracy after that point, historians have generally concluded that the prophecies were written shortly before they were published.

The current pope, Benedict XVI, would correspond to the pope described in the penultimate prophecy. The list ends with a pope identified as "Peter the Roman", whose pontificate will allegedly bring the destruction of the city of Rome and the beginning of the Apocalypse.History

The alleged prophecies were first published in 1595 by a Benedictine named Arnold de Wyon in his Lignum Vitæ, a history of the Benedictine order. Wyon attributed the prophecies to Saint Malachy, the 12th‑century Archbishop of Armagh. He explained that the prophecies had not, to his knowledge, ever been printed before, but that many were eager to see them. Wyon includes both the alleged original prophecies, consisting of short, cryptic Latin phrases, as well as an interpretation applying the statements to historical popes up to Urban VII (pope for thirteen days in 1590), which Wyon attributes to Alphonsus Ciacconius.[1]

According to the traditional account, Malachy was summoned to Rome in 1139 by Pope Innocent II. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Roman Archives, and forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590.[2]

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a contemporary biographer of Malachy, makes no mention of the prophecies, nor are they mentioned in any record prior to its 1595 publication.[2]

Several historians have concluded that the prophecies are a late 16th‑century forgery.[1][2] Spanish monk and scholar Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro wrote in his Teatro Crítico Universal (1724–1739), in an entry called Purported prophecies, that the high level of accuracy of the alleged prophecies up until the date they were published, compared with their high level of inaccuracy after that date, is evidence that they were created around the time of publication.[3] One theory to explain the creation of the prophecies, put forward by 17th century French priest and encyclopaedist Louis Moréri, among others, is that they were spread by supporters of Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli in support of his bid to become pope during the 1590 conclave to replace Urban VII. In the prophecies, the pope following Urban VII is given the description "Ex antiquitate Urbis" ("from the old city"), and Simoncelli was from Orvieto, which in Latin is Urbevetanum, old city. The prophecies may, therefore, have been created in an attempt to demonstrate that Simoncelli was destined to be pope.[1] Simoncelli was not elected pope; Urban VII was succeeded by Pope Gregory XIV, born Niccolò Sfondrati.

Interpretations

The interpretation of the prophecies for pre-publication popes provided by Wyon involves close correspondences between the mottos and the popes' birthplaces, family names, personal arms, and pre-papal careers. For example, the first motto, Ex castro Tiberis (from a castle on the Tiber), fits Pope Celestine II's birthplace in Città di Castello, on the Tiber.

Efforts to connect the prophecies to historical popes who were elected after its publication have been more strained.[1][2][3] For example, Pope Clement XIII is referred to in a prophecy as Rosa Umbriae (the rose of Umbria), but was not from Umbria nor had any but the most marginal connection with the region, having been briefly pontifical governor of Rieti, at the time part of Umbria.

Some writers note that among the post-publication (post-1595) predictions there remain 'some surprisingly appropriate phrases', while adding that 'it is of course easy to exagerate the list's accuracy by simply citing its successes', and that 'other tags do not fit so neatly'.[4] Among the reported 'successes' are 'Religion depopulated' for Benedict XV (1914-22) whose papacy included World War One and the atheistic communist Russian Revolution; 'Swift bear' for Clement XIV (1769-74), with a running bear in his coat of arms; 'Light in the sky' for Leo XIII (1878-1903), with a comet in his coat of arms; and 'Flower of flowers' for Paul VI (1963-78), with fleur-de-lys in his coat of arms.[4]

Petrus Romanus

In recent times, some interpreters of prophetic literature have drawn attention to the prophecies due to their imminent conclusion; if the list of descriptions is matched on a one-to-one basis to the list of historic popes since the prophecies' publication, the currently retiring pope, Benedict XVI (2005-2013), would correspond to the second last of the papal descriptions, Gloria olivae (the glory of the olive).[4] The last prophecy predicts the Apocalypse. The longest and final motto reads:

In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit.
Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus, quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & judex tremedus judicabit populum suum. Finis.

This may be translated into English as:

In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit [i.e., as bishop].
Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished,
the city of seven hills [i.e. Rome]
will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. The End.

In the Lignum Vitae, the line In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit. forms a separate sentence and paragraph of its own, and it is unclear whether it is grammatically related to Gloria olivae which precedes it, or to Petrus Romanus, which follows it.

Several historians and interpreters of the prophecies note that they leave open the possibility of unlisted popes between "the glory of the olive" and the final pope, "Peter the Roman."[1][2]

Popes and corresponding mottos

This list, adapted from The Prophecies of St. Malachy by Peter Bander, begins its numbering two numbers ahead of the Vatican's numbering of popes (Benedict XVI is the 265th, not the 267th). The reason for this is unclear (perhaps because of the two purported "anti-popes").

The list can be divided into two groups; one of the 74 Popes and Antipopes who reigned prior to the appearance of the prophecies in 1590, for whom the connection between the motto and the Pope is usually clear but can be seen as postdiction. The other is of the 38 Popes who have reigned since 1590, for whom the connection between the motto and the Pope is often strained or totally opaque and could be viewed as shoehorning.

Popes and Antipopes 1143–1590

The text on the silver lines below reproduces the original text (including punctuation and orthography) of the 1595 Lignum Vitae, which consisted of three parallel columns for the Popes before 1590. The first column contained the motto, the second the name of the Pope or Antipope to whom it was attached (with occasional errors), and the third an attempted explanation or justification of the name. The original list was unnumbered.

Pre-appearance Popes (1143–1590)
Pope No. Motto (Translation) Regnal Name (Reign) Name Historical Reference or Explanation[citation needed][original research?] Coat of Arms
Ex caſtro Tiberis. Cœleſtinus. ij. Typhernas.
167 1. From a castle of the Tiber Celestine II (1143–1144) Guido de Castello An inhabitant of Tifernum.
Born in Città di Castello, Umbria, on the banks of the Tiber.[5]
 
Inimicus expulſus. Lucius. ij. De familia Caccianemica.
168 2. Enemy expelled Lucius II (1144–1145) Gherardo Caccianemici del Orso Of the Caccianemici family.
This motto refers to Gherardo Caccianemici’s surname. “Cacciare” means “to hunt”,[6] and “nemici” is the Italian word for “enemies”. As his name foreshadowed, Caccianemici would be driven from Rome by his own subjects.[7]
 
Ex magnitudine mõtis. Eugenius. iij. Patria Ethruſcus oppido Montis magni.
169 3. Out of the greatness of the mountain Eugene III (1145–1153) Bernardo dei Pagnelli di Montemagno Tuscan by nation, from the town of Montemagno.
The motto refers to Pope Eugene’s last name, “Montemagno.”[8]
 
Abbas Suburranus. Anaſtaſius. iiij. De familia Suburra.
170 4. Suburran abbot Anastasius IV (1153–1154) Corrado di Suburra From the Suburra family.  
De rure albo. Adrianus. iiij. Vilis natus in oppido Sancti Albani.
171 5. From the white countryside Adrian IV (1154–1159) Nicholas Breakspear Humbly born in the town of St. Albans.
Educated at the St Albans School in Hertfordshire. Nicholas Breakspear was the bishop of Albano before becoming pope.[9]
 
Ex tetro carcere. Victor. iiij. Fuit Cardinalis S. Nicolai in carcere Tulliano.
  6. Out of a loathsome prison. Victor IV, Antipope (1159–1164) Ottaviano Monticello He was a cardinal of St. Nicholas in the Tullian prison.  
Via Tranſtiberina. Calliſtus. iij. [sic] Guido Cremenſis Cardinalis S. Mariæ Tranſtiberim.
  7. Road across the Tiber. Paschal III, Antipope (1164–1168) Guido di Crema Guido of Crema, Cardinal of St. Mary across the Tiber.
As a cardinal, he had held the title of Santa Maria in Trastevere.[10]
 
De Pannonia Thuſciæ. Paſchalis. iij. [sic] Antipapa. Hungarus natione, Epiſcopus Card. Tuſculanus.
  8. From Tusculan Hungary Callixtus III, Antipope (1168–1178) Giovanni di Strumi Antipope. A Hungarian by birth, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.
He was John, Abbot of Struma, originally from Hungary.[11]
 
Ex anſere cuſtode. Alexander. iij. De familia Paparona.
172 9. Out of the guardian goose Alexander III (1159–1181) Orlando Bandinelli Paparoni Of the Paparoni family.
His family's coat of arms had a goose on it.[12]
 
Lux in oſtio. Lucius. iij. Lucenſis Card. Oſtienſis.
173 10. A light in the entrance Lucius III (1181–1185) Ubaldo Allucingoli A Luccan Cardinal of Ostia.
In 1159, he became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.[13] Lux may also be a wordplay on Lucius.
 
Sus in cribro. Vrbanus. iij. Mediolanenſis, familia cribella, quæ Suem pro armis gerit.
174 11. Pig in a sieve Urban III (1185–1187) Umberto Crivelli A Milanese, of the Cribella (Crivelli) family, which bears a pig for arms.
His family name Crivelli means "a sieve" in Italian.
 
Enſis Laurentii. Gregorius. viij. Card. S. Laurentii in Lucina, cuius inſignia enſes falcati.
175 12. The sword of St. Lawrence Gregory VIII (1187) Alberto De Morra Cardinal of St. Lawrence in Lucina, of whom the arms were curved swords.
He had been the Cardinal of St. Lawrence[14] and his armorial bearing was a drawn sword.[15]
 
De Schola exiet.[16] Clemens. iij. Romanus, domo Scholari.
176 13 He will come from school Clement III (1187–1191) Paolo Scolari A Roman, of the house of Scolari.
His family name was Scolari.
 
De rure bouenſi. Cœleſtinus. iij. Familia Bouenſi.
177 14. From cattle country Celestine III (1191–1198) Giacinto Bobone Bovensis (Bobone) family.
He was from the Bobone family; a wordplay on cattle (boves).
 
Comes Signatus. Innocentius. iij. Familia Comitum Signiæ.
178 15. Designated count Innocent III (1198–1216) Lotario dei Conti di Segni Family of the Counts of Signia (Segni)
Descendant of the Segni family.
C o a Innocenzo III.svg
Canonicus de latere. Honorius. iij. Familia Sabella, Canonicus S. Ioannis Lateranensis.
179 16. Canon from the side Honorius III (1216–1227) Cencio Savelli 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.[17]
C o a Onorio IV.svg
Auis Oſtienſis. Gregorius. ix. Familia Comitum Signiæ Epiſcopus Card. Oſtienſis.
180 17. Bird of Ostia Gregory IX (1227–1241) Ugolino dei Conti di Segni Family of the Counts of Segni, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.
Before his election to the papacy, Ugolino dei Conti was the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, and the family coat of arms bear a bird on a gules background.[18]
C o a Innocenzo III.svg
Leo Sabinus. Cœleſtinus iiij. Mediolanenſis, cuius inſignia Leo, Epiſcopus Card. Sabinus.
181 18. Sabine Lion Celestine IV (1241) Goffredo Castiglioni A Milanese, whose arms were a lion, Cardinal Bishop of Sabina.
He was Cardinal Bishop of Sabina[19] and his armorial bearing had a lion in it. Also a play on words, referring to the pope's last name, Castiglioni.
C o a Celestino IV.svg
Comes Laurentius. Innocentius iiij. domo flisca, Comes Lauaniæ, Cardinalis S. Laurentii in Lucina.
182 19. Count Lawrence Innocent IV (1243–1254) Sinibaldo Fieschi 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,[20] and his father was the Count of Lavagna.[21]
C o a Adriano V.svg
Signum Oſtienſe. Alexander iiij. De comitibus Signiæ, Epiſcopus Card. Oſtienſis.
183 20. Sign of Ostia Alexander IV (1254–1261) Renaldo dei Signori di Ienne Of the counts of Segni, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.
He was Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and member of the Conti-Segni family.[22]
C o a Innocenzo III.svg
Hieruſalem Campanię. Vrbanus iiii. Gallus, Trecenſis in Campania, Patriarcha Hieruſalem.
184 21. Jerusalem of Champagne Urban IV (1261–1264) Jacques Pantaleon A Frenchman, of Trecae (Troyes) in Champagne, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Native of Troyes, Champagne, later patriarch of Jerusalem.[23]
C o a Urbano IV.svg
Draco depreſſus. Clemens iiii. cuius inſignia Aquila vnguibus Draconem tenens.
185 22. Dragon pressed down Clement IV (1265–1268) Guido Fulcodi Whose badge is an eagle holding a dragon in his talons.
His coat of arms had an eagle crushing a dragon.
C o a Clemente IV.svg
Anguinus uir. Gregorius. x. Mediolanenſis, Familia vicecomitum, quæ anguẽ pro inſigni gerit.
186 23. Snaky man Gregory X (1271–1276) Tebaldo Visconti 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.[24]
C o a Gregorio X.svg
Concionator Gallus. Innocentius. v. Gallus, ordinis Prædicatorum.
187 24. French Preacher Innocent V (1276) Pierre de Tarentaise A Frenchman, of the Order of Preachers. He was born in south-eastern France and was a member of the order of Preachers.[25] C o a Innocenzo V.svg
Bonus Comes. Adrianus. v. Ottobonus familia Fliſca ex comitibus Lauaniæ.
188 25. Good Count/companion Adrian V (1276) Ottobono Fieschi 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.
C o a Adriano V.svg
Piſcator Thuſcus. Ioannes. xxi. antea Ioannes Petrus Epiſcopus Card. Tuſculanus.
189 26. Tuscan Fisherman John XXI (1276–1277) Pedro Julião Formerly John Peter, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.
John XXI had been the Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.[26]
C o a Giovanni XXI.svg
Roſa compoſita. Nicolaus. iii. Familia Vrſina, quæ roſam in inſigni gerit, dictus compoſitus.
190 27. Composite Rose Nicholas III (1277–1280) Giovanni Gaetano Orsini Of the Ursina (Orsini) family, which bears a rose on its arms, called 'composite'.
He bore a rose in his coat of arms.[27]
C o a Niccolo III.svg
Ex teloneo liliacei Martini. Martinus. iiii. cuius inſignia lilia, canonicus, & theſaurarius S. Martini Turonen[sis].
191 28. From the tollhouse of lilied Martin Martin IV (1281–1285) Simone de Brion 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.
C o a Martino IV.svg
Ex roſa leonina. Honorius. iiii. Familia Sabella inſignia roſa à leonibus geſtata.
192 29. Out of the leonine rose Honorius IV (1285–1287) Giacomo Savelli Of the Sabella (Savelli) family, arms were a rose carried by lions.
His coat of arms were emblazoned with two lions supporting a rose.[27]
C o a Onorio IV.svg
Picus inter eſcas. Nicolaus. iiii. Picenus patria Eſculanus.[28]
193 30. Woodpecker between food Nicholas IV (1288–1292) Girolamo Masci A Picene by nation, of Asculum (Ascoli).
He was from Ascoli, now called Ascoli Piceno, in Picene country.
C o a Niccolo IV.svg
Ex eremo celſus. Cœleſtinus. v. Vocatus Petrus de morrone Eremita.
194 31. Raised out of the desert St. Celestine V (1294) Pietro Di Murrone Called Peter de Morrone, a hermit.
Prior to his election he was a hermit (eremita, literally a dweller in the eremus, or desert). Also a play on words (celsus/Coelestinus), referring to the pope's chosen name Celestine.
C o a Celestino V.svg
Ex undarũ bn̑dictione. Bonifacius. viii. Vocatus prius Benedictus, Caetanus, cuius inſignia undæ.
195 32. From the blessing of the waves Boniface VIII (1294–1303) Benedetto Caetani 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."[27]
C o a Bonifacio VIII.svg
Concionator patereus. [sic] Benedictus. xi. qui uocabatur Frater Nicolaus, ordinis Prædicatorum.
196 33. Preacher From Patara Benedict XI (1303–1304) Nicholas Boccasini 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).[29]
C o a Benedetto XI.svg
De feſſis aquitanicis. Clemens V. natione aquitanus, cuius inſignia feſſæ erant.
197 34. From the misfortunes/fesses of Aquitaine Clement V (1305–1314) Bertrand de Got An Aquitanian by birth, whose arms were fesses.
He was a native of St. Bertrand de Comminges in Aquitaine, and eventually became Archbishop of Bordeaux, also in Aquitaine. His coat of arms displays three horizontal bars, known in heraldry as fesses.
C o a Clemente V.svg
De ſutore oſſeo. Ioannes XXII. Gallus, familia Oſſa, Sutoris filius.
198 35. From a bony cobbler John XXII (1316–1334) Jacques Duese A Frenchman, of the Ossa family, son of a cobbler.
His family name was Duèze, D'Euze, D'Euzes, or Euse, the last of which might be back-translated into Latin as Ossa "bones". The popular legend that his father was a cobbler is probably untrue.
C o a Giovanni XXII.svg
Coruus ſchiſmaticus. Nicolaus V. qui uocabatur F. Petrus de corbario, contra Ioannem XXII. Antipapa Minorita.
  36. Schismatic crow Nicholas V, Antipope (1328–1330) Pietro Rainalducci di Corvaro Who was called Brother Peter of Corbarium (Corvaro), the Minorite antipope opposing John XXII.
The motto is a play on words, referring to Pietro di Corvaro's last name.
 
Frigidus Abbas. Benedictus XII. Abbas Monaſterii fontis frigidi.
199 37. Cold abbot Benedict XII (1334–1342) Jacques Fournier Abbot of the monastery of the cold spring.
He was an abbot in the monastery of Fontfroide ("cold spring").[30]
C o a Benedetto XII.svg
De roſa Attrebatenſi. Clemens VI. Epiſcopus Attrebatenſis, cuius inſignia Roſæ.
200 38. From the rose of Arras Clement VI (1342–1352) Pierre Roger Bishop of Arras, whose arms were roses.
He was Bishop of Arras, (Latin: Episcopus Atrebatensis),[31] and his armorial bearings were emblazoned with six roses.[32]
C o a Gregorio XI.svg
De mõtibus Pãmachii. Innocentius VI. Cardinalis SS. Ioannis & Pauli. T. Panmachii, cuius inſignia ſex montes erant.
201 39. From the mountains of Pammachius Innocent VI (1352–1362) Etienne Aubert 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.[33] He had been a cardinal priest with the title of St. Pammachius (i.e., the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Rome)[34]
C o a Innocenzo VI.svg
Gallus Vicecomes. Vrbanus V. nuncius Apoſtolicus ad Vicecomites Mediolanenſes.
202 40. French viscount Urban V (1362–1370) Guglielmo De Grimoard Apostolic nuncio to the Viscounts of Milan.
He was born of a noble French family.
C o a Urbano V.svg
Nouus de uirgine forti. Gregorius XI. qui uocabatur Petrus Belfortis, Cardinalis S. Mariæ nouæ.
203 41. New man from the strong virgin Gregory XI (1370–1378) Pierre Roger de Beaufort Who was called Peter Belfortis (Beaufort), Cardinal of New St. Mary's.
From the Beaufort family and Cardinal of Santa Maria Nuova[35]
C o a Gregorio XI.svg
Decruce Apoſtolica. [sic] Clemens VII. qui fuit Preſbyter Cardinalis SS. XII. Apoſtolorũ cuius inſignia Crux.
  42. From the apostolic cross Clement VII, Antipope (1378–1394) Robert, Count of Geneva Who was Cardinal Priest of the Twelve Holy Apostles, whose arms were a cross.
His coat of arms showed a cross, quarterly pierced.[36]
C o a Clemente VII (Avignone).svg
Luna Coſmedina. Benedictus XIII. antea Petrus de Luna, Diaconus Cardinalis S. Mariæ in Coſmedin.
  43. Cosmedine moon. Benedict XIII, Antipope (1394–1423) Peter de Luna Formerly Peter de Luna, Cardinal Deacon of St. Mary in Cosmedin.
He was the famous Peter de Luna, Cardinal of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.[37]
C o a Benedetto XIII (Avignone).svg
Schiſma Barchinoniũ. Clemens VIII. Antipapa, qui fuit Canonicus Barchinonenſis.
  44. Schism of the Barcelonas Clement VIII, Antipope (1423–1429) Gil Sanchez Muñoz Antipope, who was a canon of Barcelona.
[38]
 
De inferno prægnãti. Vrbanus VI. Neapolitanus Pregnanus, natus in loco quæ dicitur Infernus.
204 45. From a pregnant hell. Urban VI (1378–1389) Bartolomeo Prignano The Neapolitan Prignano, born in a place which is called Inferno.
His family name was Prignano or Prignani, and he was native to a place called Inferno near Naples.[39]
C o a Urbano VI.svg
Cubus de mixtione. Bonifacius. IX. familia tomacella à Genua Liguriæ orta, cuius inſignia Cubi.
205 46. Cube from a mixture Boniface IX (1389–1404) Pietro Tomacelli 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.[32]
C o a Bonifacio IX.svg
De meliore ſydere. Innocentius. VII. uocatus Coſmatus de melioratis Sulmonenſis, cuius inſignia ſydus.
206 47. From a better star Innocent VII (1404–1406) Cosmo Migliorati 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.[32]
C o a Innocenzo VII.svg
Nauta de Ponte nigro. Gregorius XII. Venetus, commendatarius eccleſiæ Nigropontis.
207 48. Sailor from a black bridge Gregory XII (1406–1415) Angelo Correr A Venetian, commendatary of the church of Negroponte.
Was Bishop of Venice and the Bishop of Chalcice, Chalcice being located on the Isle of Negropont
C o a Gregorio XII.svg
Flagellum ſolis. Alexander. V. Græcus Archiepiſcopus Mediolanenſis, inſignia Sol.
  49. Whip of the sun Alexander V, Antipope (1409–1410) Petros Philarges A Greek, Archbishop 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."[40]
C o a Alexandre V (Pisa).svg
Ceruus Sirenæ. Ioannes XXIII. Diaconus Cardinalis S. Euſtachii, qui cum ceruo depingitur, Bononiæ legatus, Neapolitanus.
  50. Stag of the siren John XXIII, Antipope (1410–1415) Baldassarre Cossa 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.[41] 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.
 
Corona ueli aurei. Martinus V. familia colonna, Diaconus Cardinalis S. Georgii ad uelum aureum.
208 51. Crown of the golden curtain Martin V (1417–1431) Oddone Colonna Of the Colonna family, Cardinal Deacon of St. George at the golden curtain.
Oddone Colonna was the Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro.[42] The word "Velabrum" is here interpreted as derived from "velum aureum", or golden veil.[43] His coat of arms had a golden crown resting atop a column.[44]
C o a Martino V.svg
Lupa Cœleſtina, Eugenius. IIII. Venetus, canonicus antea regularis Cœleſtinus, & Epiſcopus Senẽſis.
209 52. Heavenly she-wolf Eugene IV (1431–1447) Gabriele Condulmaro 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.
C o a Eugenio IV.svg
Amator Crucis. Felix. V. qui uocabatur Amadæus Dux Sabaudiæ, inſignia Crux.
  53. Lover of the cross Felix V, Antipope (1439–1449) Amadeus Duke of Savoy 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.[45] Also, the prophecy is a play on words, referring to the antipope's Christian name, "Amadeus."
C o a Felice V (antipapa).svg
De modicitate Lunæ. Nicolaus V. Lunenſis de Sarzana, humilibus parentibus natus.
210 54. From the meanness of Luna Nicholas V (1447–1455) Tommaso Parentucelli 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.
C o a Niccolo V.svg
Bos paſcens. Calliſtus. III. Hiſpanus, cuius inſignia Bos paſcens.
211 55. Pasturing ox Callixtus III (1455–1458) Alfonso Borja A Spaniard, whose arms were a pasturing ox.
Alonso Borgia's coat of arms had a grazing ox.[44]
C o a Callisto III.svg
De Capra & Albergo. Pius. II. Senenſis, qui fuit à Secretis Cardinalibus Capranico & Albergato.
212 56. From a nanny-goat and an inn Pius II (1458–1464) Enea Silvio de Piccolomini 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.[46]
C o a Pio II.svg
De Ceruo & Leone. Paulus. II. Venetus, qui fuit Commendatarius eccleſiæ Ceruienſis, & Cardinalis tituli S. Marci.
213 57. From a stag and lion Paul II (1464–1471) Pietro Barbo 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).[47]
C o a Paulo II.svg
Piſcator minorita. Sixtus. IIII. Piſcatoris filius, Franciſcanus.
214 58. Minorite fisherman Sixtus IV (1471–1484) Francesco Della Rovere Son of a fisherman, Franciscan.
He was born the son of a fisherman and a member of the Franciscans, also known as "Minorites".
C o a Sisto IV.svg
Præcurſor Siciliæ. Innocentius VIII. qui uocabatur Ioãnes Baptiſta, & uixit in curia Alfonſi regis Siciliæ.
215 59. Forerunner of Sicily Innocent VIII (1484–1492) Giovanni Battista Cibò 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.[48]
C o a Innocenzo VIII.svg
Bos Albanus in portu. Alexander VI. Epiſcopus Cardinalis Albanus & Portuenſis, cuius inſignia Bos.
216 60. Bull of Alba in the harbor Alexander VI (1492–1503) Rodrigo de Borgia 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. [49] Also, Pope Alexander had a red bull on his coat of arms[50]
Papal Arms of Alexander VI.svg
De paruo homine. Pius. III. Senenſis, familia piccolominea.
217 61. From a small man Pius III (1503) Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini A Sienese, of the Piccolomini family.
His family name was Piccolomini, from piccolo "small" and uomo "man".
C o a Pio II.svg
Fructus Iouis iuuabit. Iulius. II. Ligur, eius inſignia Quercus, Iouis arbor.
218 62. The fruit of Jupiter will help Julius II (1503–1513) Giuliano Della Rovere A Genoese, his arms were an oak, Jupiter's tree.
On his arms was an oak tree, which was sacred to Jupiter.[50] Pope Julius' family name, "Della Rovere," literally means "of the oak."[51]
C o a Sisto IV.svg
De craticula Politiana. Leo. X. filius Laurentii medicei, & ſcholaris Angeli Politiani.
219 63. From a Politian gridiron Leo X (1513–1521) Giovanni de Medici 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.[52]
C o a Papas Medicis.svg
Leo Florentius. Adrian. VI. Florẽtii filius, eius inſignia Leo.
220 64. Florentian lion Adrian VI (1522–1523) Adriaen Florenszoon Boeyens Son of Florentius, his arms were a lion.
His coat of arms had two lions on it,[50] and his name is sometimes given as Adriaan Florens, or other variants, from his father's first name Florens (Florentius).
C o a Adriano VI.svg
Flos pilei ægri. Clemens. VII. Florentinus de domo medicea, eius inſignia pila, & lilia.
221 65. Flower of the sick man's pill[53] Clement VII (1523–1534) Giulio de Medici 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.[50]
C o a Papas Medicis.svg
Hiacinthus medicorũ. Paulus. III. Farneſius, qui lilia pro inſignibus geſtat, & Card. fuit SS. Coſme, & Damiani.
222 66. Hyacinth of the physicians Paul III (1534–1549) Alessandro Farnese 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.[50]
C o a Paulo III.svg
De corona montana. Iulius. III. antea uocatus Ioannes Maria de monte.
223 67. From the mountainous crown Julius III (1550–1555) Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte 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.[50]
C o a Gulio III.svg
Frumentum flocidum. [sic] Marcellus. II. cuius inſignia ceruus & frumẽtum, ideo floccidum, quod pauco tempore uixit in papatu.
224 68. Trifling grain Marcellus II (1555) Marcello Cervini 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.[50]
C o a Marcello II.svg
De fide Petri. Paulus. IIII. antea uocatus Ioannes Petrus Caraffa.
225 69. From Peter's faith Paul IV (1555–1559) Giovanni Pietro Caraffa Formerly called John Peter Caraffa.
He is said to have used his second Christian name Pietro.
C o a Paulo IV.svg
Eſculapii pharmacum. Pius. IIII. antea dictus Io. Angelus Medices.
226 70. Aesculapius' medicine Pius IV (1559–1565) Giovanni Angelo de Medici Formerly called Giovanni Angelo Medici.
His family name was Medici.
C o a Papas Medicis.svg
Angelus nemoroſus. Pius. V. Michael uocatus, natus in oppido Boſchi.
227 71. Angel of the grove St. Pius V (1566–1572) Antonio Michele Ghisleri 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.
C o a Pio V.svg
Medium corpus pilarũ. Gregorius. XIII. cuius inſignia medius Draco, Cardinalis creatus à Pio. IIII. qui pila in armis geſtabat.
228 72. Half body of the balls Gregory XIII (1572–1585) Ugo Boncompagni 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.[50]
C o a Gregorio XIII.svg
Axis in medietate ſigni. Sixtus. V. qui axem in medio Leonis in armis geſtat.
229 73. Axle in the midst of a sign. Sixtus V (1585–1590) Felice Peretti 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.[50]
C o a Sisto V.svg
De rore cœli. Vrbanus. VII. qui fuit Archiepiſcopus Roſſanenſis in Calabria, ubi mãna colligitur.
230 74. From the dew of the sky Urban VII (1590) Giovanni Battista Castagna 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.[54]
C o a Urbano VII.svg

Popes 1590 to present

For this group of Popes, the published text only provides names for the first three (i.e., those who were Popes between the appearance of the text in 1590, and its publication in 1595) and attempts no explanations.

Post-appearance Popes (1590–present)
Pope No. Motto (Translation) Regnal Name (Reign) Name Speculation by writer Tony Allan[original research?][citation needed] Coat of Arms
Ex antiquitate Vrbis. Gregorius. XIIII.  
231 75 Of the antiquity of the city Gregory XIV (1590–1591) Niccolo Sfondrati His father was a senator of the ancient city of Milan. The word "senator" is derived from the Latin senex, meaning old man.[original research?] C o a Gregorio XIV.svg
Pia ciuitas in bello. Innocentius. IX.  
232 76 Pious city in war Innocent IX (1591) Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti He was Patriarch of Jerusalem before succeeding to the Papacy.[original research?] C o a Innocenzo IX.svg
Crux Romulea. Clemens. VIII.  
233 77 Cross of Romulus Clement VIII (1592–1605) Ippolito Aldobrandini He had been a cardinal with the title of Saint Pancratius, who was a Roman martyr.[55][56][original research?] C o a Clemente VIII.svg
Vndoſus uir.  
234 78 Wavy man Leo XI (1605) Alessandro Ottaviano De Medici He had been the Bishop of Palestrina.[57] The ancient Romans attributed the origins of Palestrina to the seafaring hero Ulysses.[58] Also, he had only reigned for 27 days.[original research?] C o a Papas Medicis.svg
Gens peruerſa.  
235 79 Corrupted nation Paul V (1605–1621) Camillo Borghese Pope Paul scandalised the Church when he appointed his nephew to the College of Cardinals. The word "nepotism" may have originated during this pope's reign.[59][original research?] C o a Paulo V.svg
In tribulatione pacis.  
236 80 In the trouble of peace Gregory XV (1621–1623) Alessandro Ludovisi His reign corresponded with the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War.[original research?] C o a Gregorio XV.svg
Lilium et roſa.  
237 81 Lily and rose Urban VIII (1623–1644) Maffeo Barberini He was a native of Florence, which has a red lily on its coat of arms.[60][original research?] C o a Urbano VIII.svg
Iucunditas crucis.  
238 82 Delight of the cross Innocent X (1644–1655) Giovanni Battista Pamphili He was raised to the pontificate around the time of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross after a long and difficult conclave.[original research?] C o a Innocenzo X.svg
Montium cuſtos.  
239 83 Guard of the mountains Alexander VII (1655–1667) Fabio Chigi His family arms include six hills with a star above them.[61][original research?] C o a Alessandro VII.svg
Sydus olorum.  
240 84 Star of the swans Clement IX (1667–1669) Giulio Rospigliosi The "star" in the legend refers Pope Alexander VII, who had made Clement his personal secretary.[61] The Italian word for swan, cigni, rhymes with Pope Alexander's surname, "Chigi."[original research?] C o a Clemente IX.svg
De flumine magno.  
241 85 From a great river Clement X (1670–1676) Emilio Altieri Pope Clement was a native of Rome.[original research?] C o a Clemente X.svg
Bellua inſatiabilis.  
242 86 Insatiable beast Innocent XI (1676–1689) Benedetto Odescalchi Pope Innocent had a lion on his coat of arms.[61][original research?] C o a Innocenzo XI.svg
Pœnitentia glorioſa.  
243 87 Glorious penitence Alexander VIII (1689–1691) Pietro Ottoboni His first name was "Pietro", after the apostle Peter who had repented after having denied Christ thrice.[original research?] C o a Alessandro VIII.svg
Raſtrum in porta.  
244 88 Rake in the door Innocent XII (1691–1700) Antonio Pignatelli del Rastrello His full name was Antonio Pignatelli del Rastrello.[62] "Rastrello" in Italian means "rake."[original research?] C o a Innocenzo XII.svg
Flores circundati.  
245 89 Surrounded flowers Clement XI (1700–1721) Giovanni Francesco Albani He had been a cardinal with the title of Santa Maria in Aquiro.[63][original research?] C o a Clemente XI.svg
De bona religione.  
246 90 From good religion Innocent XIII (1721–1724) Michelangelo dei Conti A play on words, referring to the pope's regnal name. He was from the famous Conti family that had produced several Popes.[original research?] C o a Innocenzo XIII.svg
Miles in bello.  
247 91 Soldier in War Benedict XIII (1724–1730) Pietro Francesco Orsini Before he was pope there was a lot of wars in nearby countries, and it is possible he could have fought in one as a soldier.[original research?] C o a Bennedetto XIII.svg
Columna excelſa.  
248 92 Lofty column Clement XII (1730–1740) Lorenzo Corsini When still a cardinal, he had held the titular church of St Peter in Chains.[64] 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.[original research?] C o a Clemente XII.svg
Animal rurale.  
249 93 Country animal Benedict XIV (1740–1758) Marcello Lambertini Might be a play on words because of his famous laws about missions in the two papal bulls'‘.[original research?] C o a Bennedetto XIV.svg
Roſa Vmbriæ.  
250 94 Rose of Umbria Clement XIII (1758–1769) Carlo Rezzonico He had been a cardinal with the titular church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.[65] In mystical circles, the Virgin Mary is represented by a rose.[original research?] C o a Clemente XIII.svg
Vrſus uelox.  
251 95 Swift bear (later misprinted as Cursus velox Swift Course or Visus velox Swift Glance) Clement XIV (1769–1774) Lorenzo Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli The Ganganelli family crest bore a running bear.[4] C o a Clemente XIV.svg
Peregrin9 apoſtolic9.[66]  
252 96 Apostolic pilgrim Pius VI (1775–1799) Giovanni Angelico Braschi Spent the last two years of his life in exile, a prisoner of the French Revolution.[original research?] C o a Pio VI.svg
Aquila rapax.  
253 97 Rapacious eagle Pius VII (1800–1823) Barnaba Chiaramonti The Pope's pontificate was overshadowed by Napoleon, whose emblem was the eagle.[original research?] C o a Pio VII.svg
Canis & coluber.  
254 98 Dog and adder Leo XII (1823–1829) Annibale Sermattei della Genga "Dog" and "snake" are common insults, and Leo was widely hated[citation needed]. The legend could be an allusion to the pope's last name, Sermattei. "Serpente" is the Italian word for snake.[original research?] C o a Leone XII.svg
Vir religioſus.  
255 99 Religious man Pius VIII (1829–1830) Francesco Saverio Castiglioni Another play on words, referring to the pope's regnal name.[original research?] C o a Pio VIII.svg
De balneis Ethruriæ.  
256 100 From the baths of Tuscany Gregory XVI (1831–1846) Mauro, or Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari Pope Gregory XVI belonged to the Camaldolese Order, which is said to have begun with two monastic houses. The first of these houses was Campus Maldoli, and the second was Fonte Buono, meaning "good fountain" in Italian.[67][original research?] C o a Gregorio XVI.svg
Crux de cruce.  
257 101 Cross from cross Bl. Pius IX (1846–1878) Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti During his pontificate, the House of Savoy, whose coat of arms is a white cross on a red background, reunited Italy and stripped the pope of his territorial possessions. Pope Pius XII, commenting on the beatification process of Pius IX, used the words per crucem ad lucem (through the cross to light). Pius IX was finally beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000.[original research?]
C o a Pio IX.svg
Lumen in cœlo.  
258 102 Light in the sky Leo XIII (1878–1903) Gioacchino Pecci His coat of arms had a shooting star.[4] C o a Leone XIII.svg
Ignis ardens.  
259 103 Burning fire St. Pius X (1903–1914) Giuseppe Sarto Pius advocated the codification of Canon law, daily communion and the use of Gregorian chant in the Catholic liturgy, and was an opponent of Modernism. He was the first pope to be declared a saint in over 400 years, the previous one being Pope Pius V.[original research?] Pius X COA.svg
Religio depopulata.  
260 104 Religion destroyed Benedict XV (1914–1922) Giacomo Della Chiesa Reigned during, but had no influence to stop, World War I. This unprecedented period of violence was mainly fought between the Christian powers of Europe, destroying empires which had lasted centuries and began the worldwide spread of atheistic Communism.[4] C o a Bennedetto XV.svg
Fides intrepida.  
261 105 Intrepid faith Pius XI (1922–1939) Achille Ratti Established Vatican City as a sovereign country with the papal office as head of state.[original research?] C o a Pio XI.svg
Paſtor angelicus.  
262 106 Angelic shepherd Ven. Pius XII (1939–1958) Eugenio Pacelli Reigning during World War II, he is reported to have covertly helped many Jews escape extermination in the Holocaust, though his role continues to be fiercely debated. Said to have received visions,[citation needed] some of which have yet to be revealed.[citation needed][original research?] Pius 12 coa.svg
Paſtor & nauta.  
263 107 Shepherd and sailor Bl. John XXIII (1958–1963) Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli Patriarch of Venice, a maritime city (and a fomer naval power), from 1953 until 1958 when he was elected Pope.[original research?] John 23 coa.svg
Flos florum.  
264 108 Flower of flowers Paul VI (1963–1978) Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini His coat of arms featured three fleurs-de-lis.[4] Paul 6 coa.svg
De medietate lunæ.  
265 109 From the midst of the moon John Paul I (1978) Albino Luciani His month-long reign began with the moon half-full[citation needed].[original research?] John paul 1 coa.svg
De labore solis.  
266 110 From the labour of the sun Bl. John Paul II (1978–2005) Karol Wojtyła Born (18 May 1920) on the day of a solar eclipse[68][69] and entombed (Friday 8 April 2005) on the day of a solar eclipse.[70][original research?] Writing before that second eclipse, Tony Allan had said that attempts to find a connection between 'from the labour of the sun' and John Paul II 'by pointing out that he came from Krakow, the birthplace of Copernicus, who first expounded the Earth's solar orbit, seem forced.' [4] John paul 2 coa.svg
Gloria olivæ.  
267 111 Glory of the olive. Benedict XVI (2005–present) Joseph Ratzinger Chose the regnal name Benedict after St Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Order. The order's crest contains an olive branch.[citation needed] Since 1960, one of (currently) 20 congregations in the Benedictine Confederation has been the Olivetans (founded in 1313), whose name ultimately derives from the Mount of Olives in the New Testament. Notably, Pope Benedict XVI is personally unaffiliated with the Olivetan order.[original research?] BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg
   In ꝑſecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit.
  In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit.[71]
   Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum.[72] Finis.
268 112 Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end. Unknown Unknown The Catholic Encyclopedia, an independent American research company, has said that, even if the prophecy is genuine, which it doubts, there may still be many Popes between Peter the Roman and his predecessor on this list.[73]  




fascinating! Thanks for that! What also struck me was the just this year, a film was released called We have a Pope, about an elected Pope who hides away as he struggles with this unwanted position, finally deciding to decline. Maybe there is something stirring in the destiny of the papacy as a whole, or maybe the resignation of the current pope was inspired by that film.

Rome, the city, cannot be destroyed. It is the Eternal City. The so-called "destruction of Rome" could refer to the end of the Catholic papacy itself.

Why are we paying any attention to this at all, when so many of them have apparently been wrong since the publication date? Doesn't the "mainstream" explanation make heaps of sense, at least in this particular case? Conventional, rational explanations are not always wrong, lol:

"Several historians have concluded that the prophecies are a late 16th‑centuryforgery"

"One theory to explain the creation of the prophecies, put forward by 17th century French priest and encyclopaedist Louis Moréri, among others, is that they were spread by supporters of Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli in support of his bid to become pope during the 1590 conclave to replace Urban VII."

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