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Abdicated / Deposed / Overthrown Popes

Vatican View Section | The Popes | What is Papal Infallibility?

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Abdicated / Deposed / Overthrown Popes

Sources: Various  |  Last update: 2/28/13

Important Notice: Not an official listing. May include approximations. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. Use of site is subject to our terms of use. For more terms information, see below and click here


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3rd Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

St. Pontian [18]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: July 21, 230

End of Reign: September 28, 235

Date of Death: c. 235-236

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Over 5 years

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): August 13 (November 19, Trad.)

 

First pope to abdicate (due to exile), reconciled with St. Hippolytus.

Top | The Popes

6th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

St. Silverius [58]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: June 8, 536

End of Reign: November 11, 537

Date of Death: December 2, 537

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 17 months

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): June 20

 

Refused to step down when asked (by order of the monophysite empress). Was deposed, charged with treason, forced into exile, and abdicated papacy (possibly by force). Venerated as a martyr for the orthodox faith.

Top | The Popes

7th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

St. Martin I [74]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: July 649

End of Reign: June 17, 653

Date of Death: September 16, 655

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Nearly 4 years

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): April 13 (November 12, Trad.)

 

Was consecrated without imperial confirmation. Boldly defended orthodoxy. Was charged with sedition and, although already bedridden, was tried, persecuted, and mistreated. He was deposed and exiled and died in exile. Sadly, he was abandoned by the Church and a new successor was elected before he had died. Has been considered the last martyred pope to date.

Top | The Popes

9th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

Romanus [115]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: August 897

End of Reign: November 897

Date of Death: N/A

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 3 months

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Although he was held to be a virtuous man, it is believed that he was deposed and confined to a monastery. He is said to have had Formosus' body reburied (it had been retrieved by a monk).

Top | The Popes

10th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

Leo V [119]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: August 903

End of Reign: September 903

Date of Death: early 904

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 1 month

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

His papacy lasted only about a month before he was overthrown and sent to prison. He was killed shortly thereafter. He is believed to have been a virtuous man.

John X [123]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: March/April 914

End of Reign: May 928

Date of Death: 929

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Over 14 years

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Much military and political activity occurred during his papacy. He is credited with completing the restoration of the Lateran, enhancing the prestige of the papacy, and restoring peace with the East. He has also been charged with making some decisions based on expediency (i.e. confirming a count's five year old son's election to the archbishopric in exchange for the release of the king). His determination of remaining independent is said to have upset the ruler (Theophylact's ruthless daughter Marozia) and is believed to have resulted in his being deposed, and ultimately killed.

Benedict V [133]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: May 22, 964

End of Reign: June 23 964

Date of Death: July 4, 966

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 1 month

Prior Name (if different):

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Known for holiness, he was chosen pope instead of Leo VIII (as the emperor had wanted). The emperor later laid siege to the city and placed Leo back on the papal throne. Benedict was deposed on 6/23/964. It is argued that if Leo VIII was a legitimate pope, then Benedict should be reckoned an antipope.

Top | The Popes

11th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

John XVIII [142]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: December 25, 1003

End of Reign: June/July 1009

Date of Death: June/July 1009

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 5.5 years

Prior Name (if different): John Fasanus

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Possibly a member of the Crescentii family. Asserted papal primacy. Declared saints. May have abdicated before he died (he died as a monk).

Benedict IX [146]

Birth Date: c. 1005

Beginning of Reign: October 21, 1032

End of Reign: September 1044

Date of Death: c. 1055/1056

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: 27

Lived to Approx. Age: 50-51

Approx. Length of Reign: Nearly 12 years

Prior Name (if different): Theophylact

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

He reigned as pope for three separate periods. Prior to election, he was a layman. He has been considered a competent pontiff, although his personal life has been called scandalous. His first reign ended in exile.

Silvester (Sylvester) III [147]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: January 20, 1045

End of Reign: March 10, 1045

Date of Death: 1063

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: N/A

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 2 months

Prior Name (if different): John of Sabina

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Although not usually regarded as an antipope, Silvester's election is open to question since Benedict IX was never formally deposed. Silvester was, however, formally deposed after Benedict IX reclaimed the throne.

Benedict IX (2nd reign) [148]

Birth Date: c. 1005

Beginning of Reign: March 10, 1045

End of Reign: May 1, 1045

Date of Death: c. 1055/1056

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: 40

Lived to Approx. Age: 50-51

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 2 months

Prior Name (if different): Theophylact

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

After resuming his pontificate, he excommunicated Silvester III. Shortly thereafter, he abdicated the papacy in favor of his godfather (he has been charged with selling the papacy to him).

Gregory VI [149]

Birth Date: N/A

Beginning of Reign: May 1, 1045

End of Reign: December 20, 1046

Date of Death: late 1047

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: "elderly"

Lived to Approx. Age: "old age"

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 19 months

Prior Name (if different): John Gratian

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Although he was well-respected, it is said that he obtained the election due to bribery. He eventually abdicated (or was deposed).

Benedict IX (3rd reign) [151]

Birth Date: c. 1005

Beginning of Reign: November 8, 1047

End of Reign: July 16, 1048

Date of Death: c. 1055/1056

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: 42

Lived to Approx. Age: 50-51

Approx. Length of Reign: Just over 8 months

Prior Name (if different): Theophylact

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

He once again reclaimed the papal throne, but was again driven out.

Top | The Popes

13th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

St. Celestine V [193]

Birth Date: c. 1209/1210

Beginning of Reign: July 5, 1294

End of Reign: December 13, 1294

Date of Death: May 19, 1296

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: 84-85

Lived to Approx. Age: 86-87

Approx. Length of Reign: Approx. 5 months

Prior Name (if different): Pietro del Morrone

Feast Day (if applicable): May 19

 

After a long vacancy, a renown, ascetic and elderly hermit was elected pope. Although a holy man, he was considered unsuited for the demands of the papal office. He abdicated the papacy after a few months. He was later held in custody until he died.

Top | The Popes

15th Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

Gregory XII [206]

Birth Date: c. 1325

Beginning of Reign: November 30, 1406

End of Reign: July 4, 1415

Date of Death: October 18, 1417

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: 81

Lived to Approx. Age: 92

Approx. Length of Reign: Over 8.5 years

Prior Name (if different): Angelo Correr

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

Over eighty years old at his election, Gregory sought to end the Great Schism of the West. To that end, he ultimately convened the Council of Constance and abdicated the papacy.

Top | The Popes

21st Century

Supreme Pontiff

Detail 

(dates*, ages, prior name, feast, comment/attributes, etc.)

Benedict XVI [266]

Birth Date: April 16, 1927

Beginning of Reign: April 19, 2005

End of Reign: February 28, 2013

Date of Death: N/A

Approx. Age at Beginning of Reign: 78

Lived to Approx. Age: N/A

Approx. Length of Reign: Nearly 8 years

Prior Name (if different): Joseph (Josef) Alois Ratzinger

Feast Day (if applicable): N/A

 

At age 78, the former Cardinal was elected to the papal throne. During his pontificate, the Holy Father issued the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which among other things, admitted that the traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass was "never abrogated" (and was "always permitted") and stated that both secular and regular priests have the right to celebrate Mass according to the traditional rite without needing permission. He also mandated that the excommunications against the traditionalist bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 be withdrawn. Under his reign, the Holy See reached out to the traditionalist group (SSPX), but reconciliation efforts were ultimately not successful. The Holy Father also made numerous travels, named two new Doctors of the Church, and reached out to Anglicans, allowing them to enter the Catholic Church under special provisions. In 2013, he 'surprised the world' by abdicating the papacy after coming "to the certainty that [his] strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry". [Click here for related article]

Top | The Popes

* All dates A.D.


Important Notice: We make no guarantee regarding any item herein. Information and listings herein may not be comprehensive and may include details that are unverifiable, disputed, subjective, etc. All dates / ages / lengths of reign, etc. may be approximates / estimates even if not indicated as such. Ages, lengths of reign, etc. may be rounded and may be based on simple calculations (e.g. based on years). Accomplishments, attributes, martyrdoms, charges, etc. may be disputed. Attributes / accomplishments / charges, etc. are not comprehensive and may not include individual's most important / salient attributes / accomplishments / charges, etc. Numbering of popes may be disputed. Some popes / anti-popes may be unfairly classified / misclassified. Listings are unofficial and are subject to change. Feast days may vary, are subject to change, and may be based on the traditional calendar. Popes indicated with "St." may not be formally canonized. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any item herein. By using this site you agree to all terms. For more terms information, click here.  


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