of these articles treats the head of the Roman-catholic church. For other meanings, see Pope (term clarifying).

Pope (v. griech.: pappas, father; v. lat.: dad, dad, father) is the religious title for the head of the Roman-catholic church (also: Holy father or Santo Padre).

Benedikt XVI., Pope since that 19. April 2005

under the designation holy chair acts the Pope both alone, and together with the Kurie internationally as non-governmental international law subject and represents at the same time that Vatikanstaat (as national international law subject), whose head of state is he.

The present Pope is Benedikt XVI., to 19. April 2005 into this office was selected.

Since 1871 the Pope in the Apostoli palace beside the Peter cathedral resides. Kathedralkirche of the Popeis the Lateranbasilika. The Pope throne is called also Kathedra Petri.

To table of contents


Simon Petrus (Teilansicht des Bildes Die vier Apostel von Albrecht Dürer)
Simon Petrus (scrap view of the picture the four Apostel of Albrecht Dürer)
the Pope is after catholic view and the some other Christian churches successor of the Apostels Petrus, to which of these churches as a first bishop von Rom is regardedand probably around the year 67 in Rome martyr death suffered. Some critics and some historians doubt however that he ever there was.

This requirement with a place from the matte house gospel of the Bible (chapter 16, verse 18-19) is justified,those reads as follows (unit translation):

You are Petrus and on this rock want I mean church to build and the gates hell not be supposed her not to overwhelm. And I want to give you the keys over heaven. Which youon ground connection bind, should be bound in the sky. And which you solve on ground connection, should be solved in the sky.

It is disputed whether the 1. Clemensbrief from the year 98 already a primacy of the municipality of Rome documents or as fraternalAdmonishment under equal ones to regard is. In this letter to the municipality of Korinth the bishop at that time von Rom, demands Clemens, from the Korinthern the cancelling of set off Presbytern. It refers to the Martyrium of the Apostel Petrus and Paulusin Rome.

In the Roman-catholic church the first well-known connection of the title “Pope” originates with the bishop von Rom from the time of the Marcellinus († 304), which is designated in such a way in the grave inscription of the deacon Severus. Bishop Siricius ofRome (385 - 399) calls itself as the first officially as a dad, as exclusive office designation for the bishop von Rom becomes the term of Gregor I. (590 - 604) legally fixed.

Before (starting from that 3. Century) it was an honouring designation for bishops, Patriarchen and abbotts particularly in the Orient - there the koptische church already since the council of Chalcedon 451 (before Gregor) no more belonged to the same church as latin, does not lead its headlikewise the title Pope.

Since Leo I. (Bishop von Rom 440 to 461) the Roman Pope leads the designation „Pontifex Maximus “, which as far as emperor Gratian the Roman emperor carried as a highest Roman priest (possible Etymologien among other things:Highest Brückenbauer or Pfadbahner).

In the Middle Ages quite often the situation resulted that there were several Popes at the same time, since during lifetimes of an already canonically selected Pope a Gegenpapst was raised. To it came because itself for example the Kardinalskollegium , the emperor or city-Roman aristocracy families split into the Papal election intervened. Such interferences are in the meantime forbidden under menace of the Exkommunikation. In addition it came into 14. Century for the transfer of the residence to Avignon and to the large Schisma (see Avignonesi papacy and Abendländi Schisma).

In 15. Century won the Konziliarismus at lift, which was however soon back-pushed.


the titles of the Pope are the following after the Annuario Pontificio:

  • Episcopus Romanus - „bishop von Rom
  • Vicarius Iesu Christi -„Deputy Jesu Christi “
  • Successor Principis Apostolorum - „successors of the Apostelfürsten “(meant: Petrus) (these, like the preceding title refer to the religious foundations of the office for Pope)
  • Summus Pontifex Ecclesiae Universalis - „highest Pontifex of the world church “ (this title regulates its position inthe Liturgie, e.g. in the Konzelebration with Patriarchen)
  • Primas Italiae - „Primas of Italy “ (a pure honour title, because which concerns the earlier special legal status than Obermetropolit of a country, is the rank of a Primas - perhaps with exception of the archbishopof Esztergom - everywhere waived)
  • Archiepiscopus et Metropolitanus Provinciae Romanae - „archbishop and Metropolit of the church province Rome(like all metropolitan bishops it practices certain supervision and auditing rights over its Suffraganbischöfe out)
  • sovereign of the state of the Vatikanstadt (the international-law-lay titlethe Pope)
  • Servus Servorum Dei - „servants of the servants of God “ (a title, which Pope Gregor the large one gave itself)
  • the title Patriarcha Occidentis - „Patriarch of the evening country “, that the Popes since 450, when Leo the large one had accepted it,had led, in the Annuario Pontificio of the yearly 2006 (the official yearbook of the Vatikan) from the official Papsttitulatur one removed.

Additionally to these official Titulatur, the Pope also still becomes as Pontifex Maximus (in inscriptions often as P.M. or Pont. Max. one.shortened) or also as Episcopus Ecclesiae Catholicae (bishop of the catholic church) designates. Documents are usually signed by the Pope with its Pope name, whereby between the actual name and the ordinal number the abbreviation “P.P.” one inserts. The signature Benedikts XVI. therefore reads “Benedictus P.P. XVI. “ The abbreviation P.P. stands for P A p A (Latin for Pope).


Dreifache Krone der Päpste (Tiara), Symbol für die weltliche Macht der Päpste, seit Paul VI. nicht mehr getragen
three-way crown of the Popes (Tiara), symbol for the lay power of the Popes, since Paul VI. no more not carried

the papal Insignien consist of

  • the Pope throne
  • of the Pope crown (Tiara). Pope Paul VI.was so far the last Pope, who was crowned with the Tiara. 1964 he put the Tiara down. Its successors did from now on without a Krönungszerememonie, led the Tiara howeverfurther in their personal coat of arms. Pope Benedikt XVI. replaced the Tiara in its personal coat of arms by a simple Bischofsmitra with three golden rings connected in the center.
  • the papal Hirtenstab (Ferula)
  • the Fischer ring (anulus piscatoris)
  • of onespecial form of the Palliums
  • as well as liturgical garbs clothes


and everyday life clothing unite: The Pope usually carries a white Soutane, a white Zingulum (belt) and a white Pileolus. For colder days a red coat stands for the Pope in such a way,„Mantello mentioned “for the order. In the winter months this red coat is additionally fed with Hermelin. As the further head coverage the holy father in the cold season carries a Camauro, which can be likewise fed with Hermelin. Pope Benedikt XVI.carriedin December 2005 as a first Pope since Johannes XXIII. again this head coverage over the Pileolus. On his chest the Pope (like each catholic bishop ) carries the Pektorale, a chest cross.

Liturgical clothing: During liturgical celebrations the Pope carriesa usual measuring garb, a Mitra and a Pallium. Alternatively it can carry over its Soutane a choir shirt and a Mozetta. The latter can be supplemented by a Hermelinbesatz.

Church right


to the Pope can after the church right each baptized maleCatholic to be selected; there are no closer regulations except that he must be unmarried. However the last Pope not selected as a cardinal was Urban VI. in 14. Century (1378). The Pope becomes in the Konklave, a meeting of all cardinals, which are younger at the time of the death of the predecessor than 80 years, on lifetime selected. The Konklave is held in each case in the Sixtini chapel (la cappella sistina). 1996 became with the constitution Universi Dominici Gregis the two-thirds majority demanded in former timesplus a voice starting from that 33. unsuccessful ballot by an absolute majority replaces. If the selecting is not a bishop, or is it only a layman, he is geweiht still in the Konklave to the bishop von Rom, so that he then Pope becomecan.

After (Roman-catholic) church right the Pope, like all bishops , is always a man. The Päpstin Johanna mentioned in different excessive quantities is historically not provable, on the contrary the sources point on a legendarischen origin.

see also: Sedisvakanz, Konklave


after the choice is asked the new Pope, he accepts which name. The name choice is subject to the free decision of the Pope. From the choice of the name observers try to derive political goals of the new Pope, by the characteristic characteristicsby earlier Popes and holy ones of this name to be examined. The name Pius was of the end 18. up to the center 20. Century the name most frequently selected with distance. Since the death of Pius XII. (1958) becameit no more selected - probably, because this name with conservative Pontifikaten (e.g. the Sel.Pius IX. with its Syllabus Errorum and the Hl. Pius X. with the introduction of the anti-decaying NIST oath) in connection one brought. A Pope, that itselftoday Pius would call, would apply therefore from the outset as very conservative.

Popes can accept names, which represent the latinisierte form of their civil name (Hadrian VI. = Adrian Florisz, Marcellus II.= Marcello Cervini), which however since that 16.Century occurred no longer. Many Popes accept the names of important predecessors (Leo, Gregor) or also that one from holy one (z. B. Paul VI. after the Apostel Paulus). Others go to the meaning of the names (Pius = piously; Innozenz = innocently). Some Popes select their name for personal reasons (Johannes XXIII. in honours of its father).

Originally the Popes kept their civil first name after the choice. The first Pope, who changed its name, was Johannes II. in the year 533. It was called actually Mercurius and did not want to carry not the names of a heidnischen God as a Pope. However the acceptance of a new name up to the end of the 1 remained. Millenium an exception.

The first Pope name, thatrepeated, was Sixtus ( 257) was used. Since then become the names, which are assigned several times, as ruler names provide with Roman numbers. The Popes of the antique ones and the early Middle Ages carried however frequently names, which did not come a second time into use.Some the antique names (Clemens, Pius) starting from the high Middle Ages and thus arising the name choice were again taken up.

Johannes Paul I.selected in memory at its both predecessors the first double names of Pope history. This is that at the same timefirst new Pope name since Lando (913 - 914). After it died after 33 days in the office, its successor Karol Wojtyła selected likewise this Pope name and became Johannes Paul II. called. The name of the present Pope Benedikt XVI.takesPurchase to Benedikt XV. (1914-1922), which tried in vain, to prevent the First World War and/or. to terminate, as well as on the monk father and patron of Europe, Benedikt von Nursia.

see also: Pope name


Popes are selected in principle on lifetime, which sees church rightin addition, expressly the possibility of a resignation forwards:

If the Pope should do without his office, it is required to the validity that the renouncement happens freely and sufficiently tell-made, not however that he is accepted by possibly whom.(CAN. 332 — §2.CIC)

There are several examples of resignations in the history of the Roman Popes: The most well-known might the resignation Coelestins V. in the year 1294 its. Pope Gregor XII. in the course of the council from Konstanz to the resignation one forced. BenediktIX. if whole three were times Pope, stepped three times back (1044, 1045, 1048) to favour of its relatives. The pious legend, it would have withdrawn up to now only one Pope (Coelestin V.), is historically not not durable and disproved. Thatto 2. April the 2005 deceased Pope Johannes Paul II.still rejected in his last life weeks a resignation for health reasons. It justified this with the fact that it „carried its cross “and Christ in suffering wants to follow. Also Jesus is not of the cross risen. In particular in western societies he was criticized for it; some accept, this is to a Tabuisierung of public suffering and dying into western societies to be due.

Position and criticism

the universal Primatsanspruch of the bishop von Rom developedin the course of the first millenium and culminated in the Dictatus Papae of 1075. The Pope applies for that, apart from the university Universities of churches, in the Roman-catholic church as a highest gentleman of the total church and deputy Christi on ground connection - a requirement,by all remaining churches one does not recognize.

The first Vatikani council (1869 - 1870) raised the faith conviction, the Pope is infallible, if it speaks ex cathedra, in faith questions, to the dogma. Also this requirement becomes of thatremaining churches rejected; as consequence developed besides the oldcatholic church. Expressly the infallibility dogma was used since 1870 only once, 1950 with the formulation of the dogma of the physical admission Mariens into the sky. Enzykliken and training letter of the Popeare for the Roman-catholic church binding to regard but not so easily as infallible training decisions. The theological discussion concerning this is not final.

In the old person church gave it to five relevant Patriarchen (in the order of the honour precedence defined by ökumenische councils):

  1. the bishop von Rom
  2. the bishop von Konstantinopel (since Chalcedon in same rank as Rome, but in the precedence to Rome, there Rome is older)
  3. the bishop of Alexandria
  4. the bishop von Antiochia
  5. the bishop von Jerusalem

at that time already applied underthe Christian the Roman bishop seat as „primus inter of pares “, since Rome was the capital of the Roman realm in particular and was regarded the church of Rome by the graves „of the Apostelfürsten Petrus and Paulus as admiration worthy. The church historian Eusebiusfrom Caesarea († 339) the Martyrium of Petrus and Paulus in Rome notes well-known fact as one in the whole church. Irish from of Lyon († around 202) the Roman local tradition shows, according to which the Roman office for bishop itself indirect follow-up of the Apostel Petrus deduce, which was a first chief (episkopos) of the Roman Christian municipality. Also the Patriarchat of Antiochia appoints itself to the fact that there Petrus (before he had gone to Rome) was the first bishop (for the year 38). Likewise the remaining Patriarchate (and some further eastern bishop seats) attribute themselves to a Apostel. Whether Petrus at all ever was in Rome, is however disputed among historians.

The Roman Petrustradition is historically impossible, was however inthe first centuries no important topic. For the use of matte house 16.18 to the bishops of Rome as Petrusnachfolger the earliest written certification is with Pope Damasus I. in 4. Century. There also the Roman church becomes for the first timeexclusively as “sedes apostolica” (apostolischer chair) designates - a privileged position, which is not recognized by the remaining Patriarchaten. However the monarchischen tendencies of the only western (latin) Patriarchensitzes were continued to favour by the division of the Roman realm.

Sharp critics see inPapacy the continuation of the claim to power of old Rome. The Konstantini turn called completely different people impact than the past to the point of the still recent church. During in the first centuries Christians were still cruelly pursued and to Christian its extraordinarilymuch courage belonged, now the Christianity part of the imperial power politics had become and offered desire-worth (because well paid and influential) offices. The Roman church had transferred the traditional supremacy of Rome in the west. Attempts to expand it since the remaining Patriarchate failedhowever. In the consequence the papacy in Western Europe became generally accepted more and more also as lay rulers.

Deputy shank of God, which is to be derived from the Bible not soundly, has its model against it in the Roman Kaisertum. Like that was thatPope in the high Middle Ages in religious and lay questions master over kings and peoples, which itself however starting from that 14. Century less and less to intersperse left. Also in religious area it came in the late Middle Ages to a ever stronger diversification, whereby the churchhowever hard against other-thinking one in its sphere of influence proceeded.


  • Ludwig the ring Eifel: World power Vatikan. Popes make politics., Pattloch publishing house Munich 2004, ISBN 3629016790
  • refuge wagoner: The Popes, Beck, 2004, ISBN 3406510973
  • refuge gentleman man: The holy fathers. Structure publishing house, Berlin2004, ISBN 3746681103
  • George Schwaiger: Papacy and Popes in 20. Century. Of Leo XIII. to Johannes Paul II., C.H. Beck publishing house 1999, ISBN 3406448925
  • George Denzler: The papacy, C.H. Beck publishing house 1997, ISBN 3406418651
  • Ludwig baron von Pastor: ThoseHistory of the Popes, Freiburg in mash gau the 1928, 15 Bde.

Web on the left of

Wiktionary: Pope - word origin, synonyms and translations
Wikinews: Topic portal Pope - current message

see also


  > German to English > de.wikipedia.org (Machine translated into English)