Anti-Popes: They’re Not Your Real Father

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10667767There has often been in the history of the Church, rival claimants to the See of Rome in opposition to the true successor of St. Peter. Forty-one (41)* men have been considered “anti-popes” throughout Church history, not counting the particular brands of sedevacantists around today.  Ahem…*cough*…Pope Michael, anyone? (Pictured to left. Spoiler alert: he’s not the Pope you’re looking for). Some have been reconciled with the Church, while others have remained in error. A few were blatantly flouting the claims of the true pope(s) that they were in opposition to, while others truly thought they were the actual successor of St. Peter.

It was messy. Rival cardinals would elect one guy, while the other group of cardinals would elect theirs. At times, especially in the Middle Ages during the Western Schism, this animosity and division in the Church threatened her very existence. But, as we all know, the Holy Spirit was not going to allow the Church to perish. Christ promised He would be with us until the end of time. The Church healed and moved forward once again.

However, these usurpers to the See of Rome would forever be identified for the rest of time as:


Check out the handy list of anti-popes below. Learn them and impress your friends at the next party you go to, especially if “Pope Michael” is there.


c. 200 Natalius

217–235 Saint Hippolytus (later reconciled with the Church; martyr)

251–258 Novatian

355–365 Felix II^

366–367 Ursicinus

418–419 Eulalius

498–499; 501–506 Laurentius

530 Dioscorus

687 Theodore

687 Paschal (I)

767–768 Constantine II

768 Philip

844 John VIII

855 Anastasius III Bibliothecarius (his nickname was “the Librarian”)

903–904 Christopher

974; 984–985 Boniface VII^

997–998 John XVI^

1012 Gregory VI

1058–1059 Benedict X^

1061–1064 Honorius II

1080, 1084–1100 Clement III

1100–1101 Theodoric

1101 Adalbert or Albert

1105–1111 Sylvester IV

1118–1121 Gregory VIII

1124 Celestine II

1130–1138 Anacletus II

1138 Victor IV

1159–1164 Victor IV (different person from the previous Victor IV)

1164–1168 Paschal III

1168–1178 Callixtus III

1179–1180 Innocent III

1328–1330 Nicholas V

1378–1394 Clement VII

1394–1423 Benedict XIII

1409–1410 Alexander V^

1410–1415 John XXIII

1423–1429 Clement VIII

1424–1429 Benedict XIV

1430–1437 Benedict XIV

1439–1449 Felix V

*Note: Not all lists of anti-popes are the same. There is some confusion due to the fact that it was a very confusing matter in the first place.

^ – Regnal number was counted in subsequent legitimate regnal names. Some were counted in subsequent anti-papal names as well.

For a nifty chart of these anti-popes, go to Wikipedia. For more anti-pope info on the actual men, click here or here.


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