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The Prophecy of the Popes (Latin: Prophetia Sancti Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus) is a series 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 alleged prophecies were first published by Benedictine monk Arnold Wion in 1595. Wion attributes the prophecies to Saint Malachy, a 12th‑century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland.


Given the very accurate description of popes up to 1590 and lack of accuracy after that year, historians generally conclude that the alleged prophecies are a fabrication written shortly before they were published. The Roman Catholic Church also dismisses them as manipulated postdiction and forgery.


The prophecies may have been created in an attempt to suggest that Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli's bid for the papacy in the second conclave of 1590 was divinely ordained.


Proponents of the prophecies claim that Pope Benedict XVI corresponded 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 usher in the beginning of the Apocalypse.








Statue of Saint Malachy (1094-1148)

to whom Wion attributes the authorship of the prophecies.

Malachy died over four centuries before the prophecies first appeared.



The alleged prophecies were first published in 1595 by a Benedictine named Arnold Wion in his Lignum Vitę, a history of the Benedictine order.


Wion 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.


Wion 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 Wion attributes to Alphonsus Ciacconius.


According to an account put forward in 1871 by Abbé Cucherat, Malachy was summoned to Rome in 1139 by Pope Innocent II to receive two wool palliums for the metropolitan sees of Armagh and Cashel.


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 Vatican Secret Archives, and forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590, supposedly just in time for a papal conclave ongoing at the time.


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a contemporary biographer of Malachy who recorded the saint's alleged miracles, makes no mention of the prophecies, nor are they mentioned in any record prior to their 1595 publication.


Several historians have concluded that the prophecies are a late 16th‑century forgery.


Spanish monk and scholar Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro wrote in his Teatro Crķtico 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.


The prophecies and explanations given in Wion correspond very closely to a 1557 history of the popes by Onofrio Panvinio (including replication of errors made by Panvinio), which may indicate that the prophecies were written based on that source.


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.


Simoncelli was not elected pope; Urban VII was succeeded by Pope Gregory XIV, born Niccolņ Sfondrati.








Celestine II (d. 1144)

the first pope mentioned in the prophecies.



The interpretation of the prophecies for pre-publication popes provided by Wion involves close correspondences between the mottos and the popes' birthplaces, family names, personal arms, and pre-papal titles.


 For example, the first motto, Ex castro Tiberis (from a castle on the Tiber), fits Pope Celestine II's birthplace in Cittą di Castello, on the Tiber.


Efforts to connect the prophecies to historical popes who were elected after its publication have been more strained. 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.


One writer notes that among the post-publication (post-1595) predictions there remain,

"some surprisingly appropriate phrases," while adding that "it is of course easy to exaggerate the list's accuracy by simply citing its successes," and that "other tags do not fit so neatly."

Among the reported 'successes' are,

'Religion depopulated' for Benedict XV (1914-22) whose papacy included World War One and the atheistic communist Russian Revolution; '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.


Peter Bander, then Head of Religious Education at a Cambridge college, wrote in 1969:

If we were to place the works of those who have repudiated the Prophecies of Malachy on scales and balance them against those who have accepted them, we would probably reach a fair equilibrium; however, the most important factor, namely the popularity of the prophecies, particularly among the ordinary people (as distinct from scholars), makes them as relevant to the second half of the twentieth century as they have ever been.

— Bander 1969, p. 10.

M.J. O'Brien, a Catholic priest who authored an 1880 monograph on the prophecies, provided a more critical assessment:

These prophecies have served no purpose. They are absolutely meaningless. The Latin is bad. It is impossible to attribute such absurd triflings... to any holy source.


Those who have written in defence of the prophecy... have brought forward scarcely an argument in their favour. Their attempts at explaining the prophecies after 1590 are, I say with all respect, the sorriest trifling.

— O'Brien 1880, p. 110.



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, Benedict XVI (2005-2013) would correspond to the second to last of the papal descriptions, Gloria olivae (the glory of the olive).


The longest and final prophecy predicts the Apocalypse:

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

This may be translated into English as:

In the final 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 dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.

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."


In the Lignum Vitae - Ornamentum et Decus Ecclesiae, the line In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit. forms a separate sentence and paragraph of its own.


While often read as part of the "Peter the Roman" prophecy, other interpreters view it as a separate, incomplete sentence explicitly referring to additional popes between "the glory of the olive" and "Peter the Roman".




Popes and corresponding mottos


The list can be divided into two groups; one of the 74 popes and antipopes who reigned prior to the appearance of the prophecies c. 1590, for whom the connection between the motto and the pope is consistently clear.


The other is of the 38 mottos attributed to popes who have reigned since 1590, for whom the connection between the motto and the pope is often strained or totally absent and could be viewed as shoehorning or postdiction.


René Thibaut divides the table at a different point, between the 71st and 72nd motto, asserting that there is a change in style at this point. He uses this distinction to put forward the view that the first 71 mottos are post-dated forgeries, while the remainder are genuine.


Hildebrand Troll echoes this view, noting that mottos 72-112 use a symbolic language related to the character of the pope and his papacy, in contrast to the more literal mottos for earlier popes.





Popes and antipopes 1143-1590 (pre-publication)


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 explanation of the motto. There are some indications that both the mottos and explanations were the work of a single 16th century individual.


The original list was unnumbered:




Pre-appearance Popes (1143-1590)


Motto No.

Motto (Translation)

Regnal Name (Reign)


Explanation Provided in Lignum Vitae

Coat of Arms

Ex caſtro Tiberis.

Cœleſtinus. ij.



From a castle of the Tiber

Celestine II (1143-1144)

Guido de Castello

An inhabitant of Tifernum.
Celestine II was born in Cittą di Castello (formerly called Tifernum-Tiberinum), on the banks of the Tiber.


Inimicus expulſus.

Lucius. ij.

De familia Caccianemica.


Enemy expelled

Lucius II (1144-1145)

Gherardo Caccianemici del Orso

Of the Caccianemici family.
According to Wion, this motto refers to Lucius II's family name, Caccianemici; in Italian, “Cacciare” means “to drive out” and “nemici” means “enemies”. While he has been traditionally viewed as being part of this family, it is doubtful whether he actually was; moreover, even if he actually belonged to that family, the attribution of the surname Caccianemici is certainly anachronistic.


Ex magnitudine mõtis.

Eugenius. iij.

Patria Ethruſcus oppido Montis magni.


From the great mountain

Eugene III (1145-1153)

Bernardo dei Paganelli di Montemagno

Tuscan by nation, from the town of Montemagno.
According to Wion, the motto refers to Eugene III’s birthplace, “Montemagno”, a village near Pisa. But according to other sources he was born in Pisa in modest family.


Abbas Suburranus.

Anaſtaſius. iiij.

De familia Suburra.


Abbot from Subbura

Anastasius IV (1153-1154)

Corrado di Suburra

From the Suburra family. He was traditionally referred to as abbot of the canon regulars of St. Ruf in Avignon, but modern scholars have established that he actually belonged to the secular clergy.


De rure albo.

Adrianus. iiij.

Vilis natus in oppido Sancti Albani.


From the white countryside

Adrian IV (1154-1159)

Nicholas Breakspear

Humbly born in the town of St. Albans.
Most likely a reference to Adrian IV's birthplace near St Albans, Hertfordshire.


Ex tetro carcere.

Victor. iiij.

Fuit Cardinalis S. Nicolai in carcere Tulliano.


Out of a loathsome prison.

Victor IV, Antipope (1159-1164)

Ottaviano Monticello

He was a cardinal of St. Nicholas in the Tullian prison.
Victor IV may have held the title San Nicola in Carcere.


Via Tranſtiberina.

Calliſtus. iij. [sic]

Guido Cremenſis Cardinalis S. Marię Tranſtiberim.


Road across the Tiber.

Callixtus III, Antipope (1168-1178)

Giovanni di Strumi

Guido of Crema, Cardinal of St. Mary across the Tiber.
Wion reverses the names and order of Antipopes Callixtus III (John of Struma) and Paschal III (Guido of Crema). Paschal, not Callixtus, was born Guido of Crema and held the title of Santa Maria in Trastevere, to which the motto applies.


De Pannonia Thuſcię.

Paſchalis. iij. [sic]

Antipapa. Hungarus natione, Epiſcopus Card. Tuſculanus.


From Tusculan Hungary.

Paschal III, Antipope (1164-1168)

Guido di Crema

Antipope. A Hungarian by birth, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.
As noted above, this motto applies not to Paschal III, but to Callixtus III, who allegedly was Hungarian. However, Callixtus was Cardinal Bishop of Albano, not of Tusculum.


Ex anſere cuſtode.

Alexander. iij.

De familia Paparona.


From the guardian goose

Alexander III (1159-1181)

Rolando (or Orlando) of Siena

Of the Paparoni family.
Alexander III may have been from the Bandinella family, which was afterwards known as the Paparona family, which featured a goose on its coat of arms. There is debate whether Alexander III was in fact of that family.


Lux in oſtio.

Lucius. iij.

Lucenſis Card. Oſtienſis.


A light in the door

Lucius III (1181-1185)

Ubaldo Allucingoli

A Luccan Cardinal of Ostia.
The motto is a wordplay on "Lucius" or "Lucca" and "Ostia".


Sus in cribro.

Vrbanus. iij.

Mediolanenſis, familia cribella, quę Suem pro armis gerit.


Pig in a sieve

Urban III (1185-1187)

Umberto Crivelli

A Milanese, of the Cribella (Crivelli) family, which bears a pig for arms.
Urban III's family name Crivelli means "a sieve" in Italian; his arms included a sieve and two pigs.


Enſis Laurentii.

Gregorius. viij.

Card. S. Laurentii in Lucina, cuius inſignia enſes falcati.


The sword of Lawrence

Gregory VIII (1187)

Alberto De Morra

Cardinal of St. Lawrence in Lucina, of whom the arms were curved swords.
Gregory VIII was Cardinal of St. Lawrence and his arms featured crossed swords.


De Schola exiet.

Clemens. iij.

Romanus, domo Scholari.


He will come from school

Clement III (1187-1191)

Paolo Scolari

A Roman, of the house of Scolari.
The motto is a play on words on Clement III's surname.


De rure bouenſi.

Cœleſtinus. iij.

Familia Bouenſi.


From cattle country

Celestine III (1191-1198)

Giacinto Bobone

Bovensis family.
The reference to cattle is a wordplay on Celestine III's surname, Bobone.


Comes Signatus.

Innocentius. iij.

Familia Comitum Signię.


Designated count

Innocent III (1198-1216)

Lotario dei Conti di Segni

Family of the Counts of Signia (Segni)
The motto is a direct reference to Innocent III's family name.

C o a Innocenzo III.svg

Canonicus de latere.

Honorius. iij.

Familia Sabella, Canonicus S. Ioannis Lateranensis.


Canon from the side

Honorius III (1216-1227)

Cencio Savelli

Savelli family, canon of St. John Lateran
The claim in Wion that Honorius III was a canon of St. John Lateran is contested by some historians.

C o a Onorio IV.svg

Auis Oſtienſis.

Gregorius. ix.

Familia Comitum Signię Epiſcopus Card. Oſtienſis.


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 his coat of arms depict an eagle.

C o a Innocenzo III.svg

Leo Sabinus.

Cœleſtinus iiij.

Mediolanenſis, cuius inſignia Leo, Epiſcopus Card. Sabinus.


Sabine Lion

Celestine IV (1241)

Goffredo Castiglioni

A Milanese, whose arms were a lion, Cardinal Bishop of Sabina.
Celestine IV was Cardinal Bishop of Sabina and his armorial bearing had a lion in it.

C o a Celestino IV.svg

Comes Laurentius.

Innocentius iiij.

domo flisca, Comes Lauanię, Cardinalis S. Laurentii in Lucina.


Count Lawrence

Innocent IV (1243-1254)

Sinibaldo Fieschi

Of the house of Flisca (Fieschi), Count of Lavagna, Cardinal of St. Lawrence in Lucina.
The motto, as explained in Wion, is a reference to Innocent IV's father, the Count of Lavagna, and his title Cardinal of St. Lawrence in Lucina.

C o a Adriano V.svg

Signum Oſtienſe.

Alexander iiij.

De comitibus Signię, Epiſcopus Card. Oſtienſis.


Sign of Ostia

Alexander IV (1254-1261)

Renaldo dei Signori di Ienne

Of the counts of Segni, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.
The motto refers to Alexander IV's being Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and member of the Conti-Segni family.

C o a Innocenzo III.svg

Hieruſalem Campanię.

Vrbanus iiii.

Gallus, Trecenſis in Campania, Patriarcha Hieruſalem.


Jerusalem of Champagne

Urban IV (1261-1264)

Jacques Pantaleon

A Frenchman, of Trecae (Troyes) in Champagne, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
The motto refers to Urban IV's birthplace of Troyes, Champagne, and title Patriarch of Jerusalem.

C o a Urbano IV.svg

Draco depreſſus.

Clemens iiii.

cuius inſignia Aquila vnguibus Draconem tenens.


Dragon pressed down

Clement IV (1265-1268)

Guido Fulcodi

Whose badge is an eagle holding a dragon in his talons.
According some sources, Clement IV's coat of arms depicted an eagle clawing a dragon. Other sources indicate that it was instead six fleurs-de-lis.

C o a Clemente IV.svg

Anguinus uir.

Gregorius. x.

Mediolanenſis, Familia vicecomitum, quę anguẽ pro inſigni gerit.


Snaky man

Gregory X (1271-1276)

Teobaldo 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; sources conflict as to whether Gregory X used this for his papal arms.

C o a Gregorio X.svg

Concionator Gallus.

Innocentius. v.

Gallus, ordinis Prędicatorum.


French Preacher

Innocent V (1276)

Pierre de Tarentaise

A Frenchman, of the Order of Preachers.
Innocent V was born in what is now south-eastern France and was a member of the order of Preachers.

C o a Innocenzo V.svg

Bonus Comes.

Adrianus. v.

Ottobonus familia Fliſca ex comitibus Lauanię.


Good Count

Adrian V (1276)

Ottobono Fieschi

Ottobono, of the Fieschi family, from the counts of Lavagna.
The Fieschi family were counts of Lavagna and a wordplay on "good" can be made with Adrian V's first name, Ottobono.

C o a Adriano V.svg

Piſcator Thuſcus.

Ioannes. xxi.

antea Ioannes Petrus Epiſcopus Card. Tuſculanus.


Tuscan Fisherman

John XXI (1276-1277)

Pedro Julićo

Formerly John Peter, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum.
John XXI had been the Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum, and shared his first name with Saint Peter, a fisherman.

C o a Giovanni XXI.svg

Roſa compoſita.

Nicolaus. iii.

Familia Vrſina, quę roſam in inſigni gerit, dictus compoſitus.


Composite Rose

Nicholas III (1277-1280)

Giovanni Gaetano Orsini

Of the Ursina (Orsini) family, which bears a rose on its arms, called 'composite'.
Nicholas III bore a rose in his coat of arms.

C o a Niccolo III.svg

Ex teloneo liliacei Martini.

Martinus. iiii.

cuius inſignia lilia, canonicus, & theſaurarius S. Martini Turonen[sis].


From the tollhouse of Martin of the lilies

Martin IV (1281-1285)

Simone de Brion

Whose arms were lilies, canon and treasurer of St. Martin of Tours.
Martin IV was Canon and Treasurer at the Church of St. Martin in Tours, France. Wion's assertion that his arms featured lilies is incorrect.

C o a Martino IV.svg

Ex roſa leonina.

Honorius. iiii.

Familia Sabella inſignia roſa ą leonibus geſtata.


Out of the leonine rose

Honorius IV (1285-1287)

Giacomo Savelli

Of the Sabella (Savelli) family, arms were a rose carried by lions.
Honorius IV's coat of arms was emblazoned with two lions supporting a rose.

C o a Onorio IV.svg

Picus inter eſcas.

Nicolaus. iiii.

Picenus patria Eſculanus.


Woodpecker between food

Nicholas IV (1288-1292)

Girolamo Masci

A Picene by nation, of Asculum (Ascoli).
The motto is likely an obscure wordplay on Nicholas IV's birthplace in Ascoli, in Picenum.

C o a Niccolo IV.svg

Ex eremo celſus.

Cœleſtinus. v.

Vocatus Petrus de morrone Eremita.


Raised out of the desert

St. Celestine V (1294)

Pietro Di Murrone

Called Peter de Morrone, a hermit.
Prior to his election, Celestine V was a hermit (eremita, literally a dweller in the eremus, or desert).

C o a Celestino V.svg

Ex undarũ bn̑dictione.

Bonifacius. viii.

Vocatus prius Benedictus, Caetanus, cuius inſignia undę.


From the blessing of the waves

Boniface VIII (1294-1303)

Benedetto Caetani

Previously called Benedict, of Gaeta, whose arms were waves.
Boniface VIII's coat of arms had a wave through it. Also a play on words, referring to the pope's Christian name, "Benedetto."

C o a Bonifacio VIII.svg

Concionator patereus. [sic]

Benedictus. xi.

qui uocabatur Frater Nicolaus, ordinis Prędicatorum.


Preacher From Patara

Benedict XI (1303-1304)

Nicholas Boccasini

Who was called Brother Nicholas, of the order of Preachers.
Benedict XI belonged to the Order of Preachers, and his namesake Saint Nicholas was from Patara. O'Brien notes, "Everything leads us to suspect that the author and interpreter of the prophecy is one and the same person. The pretended interpreter who knew that Patare was the birthplace of St. Nicholas forgot that others may not be aware of the fact, and that therefore the explanation would be thrown away on them."

C o a Benedetto XI.svg

De feſſis aquitanicis.

Clemens V.

natione aquitanus, cuius inſignia feſſę erant.


From the fesses of Aquitaine

Clement V (1305-1314)

Bertrand de Got

An Aquitanian by birth, whose arms were fesses.
Clement V was Bishop 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.


From a bony cobbler

John XXII (1316-1334)

Jacques Duese

A Frenchman, of the Ossa family, son of a cobbler.
John XXII's family name was Dučze or D'Euse, the last of which might be back-translated into Latin as Ossa ("bones"), the name Wion gives. The popular legend that his father was a cobbler is dubious.

C o a Giovanni XXII.svg

Coruus ſchiſmaticus.

Nicolaus V.

qui uocabatur F. Petrus de corbario, contra Ioannem XXII. Antipapa Minorita.


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.


Cold abbot

Benedict XII (1334-1342)

Jacques Fournier

Abbot of the monastery of the cold spring.
Benedict XII was an abbot in the monastery of Fontfroide ("cold spring").

C o a Benedetto XII.svg

De roſa Attrebatenſi.

Clemens VI.

Epiſcopus Attrebatenſis, cuius inſignia Roſę.


From the rose of Arras

Clement VI (1342-1352)

Pierre Roger

Bishop of Arras, whose arms were roses.
Clement VI was Bishop of Arras (in Latin, Episcopus Attrebatensis) and his armorial bearings were emblazoned with six roses.

C o a Gregorio XI.svg

De mõtibus Pćmachii.

Innocentius VI.

Cardinalis SS. Ioannis & Pauli. T. Panmachii, cuius inſignia ſex montes erant.


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.
Innocent VI was Cardinal Priest of Pammachius. Wion and Panvinio describe his arms as depicting six mountains, though other sources do not.

C o a Innocenzo VI.svg

Gallus Vicecomes.

Vrbanus V.

nuncius Apoſtolicus ad Vicecomites Mediolanenſes.


French viscount

Urban V (1362-1370)

Guglielmo De Grimoard

Apostolic nuncio to the Viscounts of Milan.
Urban V was French. Wion indicates he was Apostolic Nuncio to the Viscounts of Milan.

C o a Urbano V.svg

Nouus de uirgine forti.

Gregorius XI.

qui uocabatur Petrus Belfortis, Cardinalis S. Marię nouę.


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.
The motto refers to Gregory XI's surname and his title Cardinal of Santa Maria Nuova.

C o a Gregorio XI.svg

Decruce Apoſtolica. [sic]

Clemens VII.

qui fuit Preſbyter Cardinalis SS. XII. Apoſtolorũ cuius inſignia Crux.


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.
Clement VII's coat of arms showed a cross and he held the title Cardinal Priest of the Twelve Holy Apostles.

C o a Clemente VII (Avignone).svg

Luna Coſmedina.

Benedictus XIII.

antea Petrus de Luna, Diaconus Cardinalis S. Marię in Coſmedin.


Cosmedine moon.

Benedict XIII, Antipope (1394-1423)

Peter de Luna

Formerly Peter de Luna, Cardinal Deacon of St. Mary in Cosmedin.
The motto refers to Benedict XIII's surname and title.

C o a Benedetto XIII (Avignone).svg

Schiſma Barchinoniũ.

Clemens VIII.

Antipapa, qui fuit Canonicus Barchinonenſis.


Schism of the Barcelonas

Clement VIII, Antipope (1423-1429)

Gil Sanchez Muńoz

Antipope, who was a canon of Barcelona.


De inferno pręgnćti.

Vrbanus VI.

Neapolitanus Pregnanus, natus in loco quę dicitur Infernus.


From a pregnant hell.

Urban VI (1378-1389)

Bartolomeo Prignano

The Neapolitan Prignano, born in a place which is called Inferno.
Urban VI's family name was Prignano or Prignani, and he was native to a place called Inferno near Naples.

C o a Urbano VI.svg

Cubus de mixtione.

Bonifacius. IX.

familia tomacella ą Genua Ligurię orta, cuius inſignia Cubi.


Square of mixture

Boniface IX (1389-1404)

Pietro Tomacelli

Of the Tomacelli family, born in Genoa in Liguria, whose arms were cubes.
Boniface IX's coat of arms includes a bend checky — a wide stripe with a checkerboard pattern.

C o a Bonifacio IX.svg

De meliore ſydere.

Innocentius. VII.

uocatus Coſmatus de melioratis Sulmonenſis, cuius inſignia ſydus.


From a better star

Innocent VII (1404-1406)

Cosmo Migliorati

Called Cosmato dei Migliorati of Sulmo, whose arms were a star.
The motto is a play on words, "better" (melior) referring to Innocent VII's last name, Migliorati (Meliorati). There is a shooting star on his coat of arms.

C o a Innocenzo VII.svg

Nauta de Ponte nigro.

Gregorius XII.

Venetus, commendatarius eccleſię Nigropontis.


Sailor from a black bridge

Gregory XII (1406-1415)

Angelo Correr

A Venetian, commendatary of the church of Negroponte.
Gregory XII was born in Venice (hence mariner) and was commendatary of Chalkis, then called Negropont.

C o a Gregorio XII.svg

Flagellum ſolis.

Alexander. V.

Gręcus Archiepiſcopus Mediolanenſis, inſignia Sol.


Whip of the sun

Alexander V, Antipope (1409-1410)

Petros Philarges

A Greek, Archbishop of Milan, whose arms were a sun.
Alexander V's coat of arms featured a sun, the wavy rays may explain the reference to a whip.

C o a Alexandre V (Pisa).svg

Ceruus Sirenę.

Ioannes XXIII.

Diaconus Cardinalis S. Euſtachii, qui cum ceruo depingitur, Bononię legatus, Neapolitanus.


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.
John XXIII was a cardinal with the title of St. Eustachius, whose emblem is a stag, and 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.


Crown of the golden curtain

Martin V (1417-1431)

Oddone Colonna

Of the Colonna family, Cardinal Deacon of St. George at the golden curtain.
The motto is a reference to Martin V's family name and cardinal title of San Giorgio in Velabro.

C o a Martino V.svg

Lupa Cœleſtina,

Eugenius. IIII.

Venetus, canonicus antea regularis Cœleſtinus, & Epiſcopus Senẽſis.


Heavenly she-wolf

Eugene IV (1431-1447)

Gabriele Condulmaro

A Venetian, formerly a regular Celestine canon, and Bishop of Siena.
Eugene IV 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 Amadęus Dux Sabaudię, inſignia Crux.


Lover of the cross

Felix V, Antipope (1439-1449)

Amadeus, Duke of Savoy

Who was called Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, arms were a cross.
The motto is a reference to Felix V's given name, Amadeus, and arms, which featured the cross of Savoy.

C o a Felice V (antipapa).svg

De modicitate Lunę.

Nicolaus V.

Lunenſis de Sarzana, humilibus parentibus natus.


From the meanness of Luna

Nicholas V (1447-1455)

Tommaso Parentucelli

A Lunese of Sarzana, born to humble parents.
Nicholas V was born 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.


Pasturing ox

Callixtus III (1455-1458)

Alfonso Borja

A Spaniard, whose arms were a pasturing ox.
Callixtus III's coat of arms featured an ox.

C o a Callisto III.svg

De Capra & Albergo.

Pius. II.

Senenſis, qui fuit ą Secretis Cardinalibus Capranico & Albergato.


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.
Pius II was secretary to Cardinal Domenico Capranica and Cardinal Albergatti before he was elected Pope.

C o a Pio II.svg

De Ceruo & Leone.

Paulus. II.

Venetus, qui fuit Commendatarius eccleſię Ceruienſis, & Cardinalis tituli S. Marci.


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.
The motto refers to his Bishopric of Cervia (punning on cervus, "a stag") and his Cardinal title of St. Mark (symbolized by a winged lion).

C o a Paulo II.svg

Piſcator minorita.

Sixtus. IIII.

Piſcatoris filius, Franciſcanus.


Minorite fisherman

Sixtus IV (1471-1484)

Francesco Della Rovere

Son of a fisherman, Franciscan.
Sixtus IV was born the son of a fisherman and a member of the Franciscans, also known as "Minorites" (which was founded in 1209, after Malachy's death.)

C o a Sisto IV.svg

Pręcurſor Sicilię.

Innocentius VIII.

qui uocabatur Ioćnes Baptiſta, & uixit in curia Alfonſi regis Sicilię.


Precursor of Sicily

Innocent VIII (1484-1492)

Giovanni Battista Cibņ

Who was called John Baptist, and lived in the court of Alfonso, king of Sicily.
Innocent VIII was from Sicily. "Precursor" may be explained as an allusion to his birth name, after John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ.

C o a Innocenzo VIII.svg

Bos Albanus in portu.

Alexander VI.

Epiſcopus Cardinalis Albanus & Portuenſis, cuius inſignia Bos.


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, and his arms featured an ox.

Papal Arms of Alexander VI.svg

De paruo homine.

Pius. III.

Senenſis, familia piccolominea.


From a small man

Pius III (1503)

Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini

A Sienese, of the Piccolomini family.
Pius III's 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.


The fruit of Jupiter will help

Julius II (1503-1513)

Giuliano Della Rovere

A Genoese, his arms were an oak, Jupiter's tree.
On Julius II's arms was an oak tree, which was sacred to Jupiter.

C o a Sisto IV.svg

De craticula Politiana.

Leo. X.

filius Laurentii medicei, & ſcholaris Angeli Politiani.


From a Politian gridiron

Leo X (1513-1521)

Giovanni de Medici

Son of Lorenzo de' Medici, and student of Angelo Poliziano.
Leo X's educator and mentor was Angelo Poliziano. The “Gridiron” in 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.

C o a Papas Medicis.svg

Leo Florentius.

Adrian. VI.

Florẽtii filius, eius inſignia Leo.


Florentian lion

Adrian VI (1522-1523)

Adriaen Florenszoon Boeyens

Son of Florentius, his arms were a lion.
Adrian VI's coat of arms had two lions on it, and his name is sometimes given as Adrian Florens, or other variants, from his father's first name Florens (Florentius).

C o a Adriano VI.svg

Flos pilei ęgri.

Clemens. VII.

Florentinus de domo medicea, eius inſignia pila, & lilia.


Flower of the sick man's pill

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 was emblazoned with six medical balls. One of these balls, the largest of the six, was emblazoned with the Florentine lily.

C o a Papas Medicis.svg

Hiacinthus medicorũ.

Paulus. III.

Farneſius, qui lilia pro inſignibus geſtat, & Card. fuit SS. Coſme, & Damiani.


Hyacinth of the physicians

Paul III (1534-1549)

Alessandro Farnese

Farnese, who bore lilies for arms, and was Cardinal of Saints Cosmas and Damian.
According to some sources, Paul III's coat of arms were charged with hyacinths, and he was cardinal of Saints Cosmas and Damian, both doctors.

C o a Paulo III.svg

De corona montana.

Iulius. III.

antea uocatus Ioannes Maria de monte.


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 laurel crowns (chaplets).

C o a Giulio III.svg

Frumentum flocidum. [sic]

Marcellus. II.

cuius inſignia ceruus & frumẽtum, ideo floccidum, quod pauco tempore uixit in papatu.


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.

C o a Marcello II.svg

De fide Petri.

Paulus. IIII.

antea uocatus Ioannes Petrus Caraffa.


From Peter's faith

Paul IV (1555-1559)

Giovanni Pietro Caraffa

Formerly called John Peter Caraffa.
Paul IV 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.


Aesculapius' medicine

Pius IV (1559-1565)

Giovanni Angelo de Medici

Formerly called Giovanni Angelo Medici.
The motto is likely a simple allusion to Pius IV's family name.

C o a Papas Medicis.svg

Angelus nemoroſus.

Pius. V.

Michael uocatus, natus in oppido Boſchi.


Angel of the grove

St. Pius V (1566-1572)

Antonio Michele Ghisleri

Called Michael, born in the town of Bosco.
Pius V was born in Bosco, Lombardy; the placename means grove. His name was 'Antonio Michele Ghisleri', and Michele relates to the archangel. O'Brien notes here that many of the prophecies contain plays on Italian words, which are not made explicit in the explanations provided in the Lignum Vitae.

C o a Pio V.svg

Medium corpus pilarũ.

Gregorius. XIII.

cuius inſignia medius Draco, Cardinalis creatus ą Pio. IIII. qui pila in armis geſtabat.


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.

C o a Gregorio XIII.svg

Axis in medietate ſigni.

Sixtus. V.

qui axem in medio Leonis in armis geſtat.


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 Sixtus V's coat of arms.

C o a Sisto V.svg

De rore cœli.

Vrbanus. VII.

qui fuit Archiepiſcopus Roſſanenſis in Calabria, ubi mćna colligitur.


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.

C o a Urbano VII.svg






Popes 1590 to present (post-publication)


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 c. 1590, and its publication in 1595) and provides no explanations:




Post-appearance Popes (1590-present)


Motto No.

Motto (Translation)

Regnal Name (Reign)


Interpretations and Criticisms

Coat of Arms

Ex antiquitate Vrbis.

Gregorius. XIIII.



Of the antiquity of the city / From the old city

Gregory XIV (1590-1591)

Niccolo Sfondrati

This may have been intended by the author of the prophecies to suggest that Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli was destined to succeed Urban VII. Simoncelli was from Orvieto, which in Latin is Urbs vetus, old city. Simoncelli was not elected pope, however, Niccolo Sfondrati was, who took the name Gregory XIV. Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to explain it by noting that Gregory XIV's father was a senator of the ancient city of Milan, and the word "senator" is derived from the Latin senex, meaning old man, or that Milan is the "old city" in question, having been founded c. 400 BCE.

C o a Gregorio XIV.svg

Pia ciuitas in bello.

Innocentius. IX.



Pious citizens in war

Innocent IX (1591)

Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti

Proponents of the prophecies have suggested different interpretations to relate this motto to Innocent IX, including references to his birthplace of Bologna or title of Patriarch of Jerusalem.

C o a Innocenzo IX.svg

Crux Romulea.

Clemens. VIII.



Cross of Romulus

Clement VIII (1592-1605)

Ippolito Aldobrandini

Proponents of the prophecies have suggested different interpretations to relate this motto to Clement VIII, including linking it to the embattled bend on his arms or the war between Catholic Ireland and Protestant England during his papacy.

C o a Clemente VIII.svg

Vndoſus uir.



Wavy man

Leo XI (1605)

Alessandro Ottaviano De Medici

This may have been intended by the author of the prophecies to suggest to his audience a possible heraldic design, but it does not correspond to Leo XI's Medici arms. Proponents of the prophecies have suggested different interpretations to relate this motto to this pope, including relating it to his short reign "passing like a wave."

C o a Papas Medicis.svg

Gens peruerſa.



Wicked race

Paul V (1605-1621)

Camillo Borghese

Proponents of the prophecies have suggested it is a reference to the dragon and the eagle on Paul V's arms.

C o a Paulo V.svg

In tribulatione pacis.



In the trouble of peace

Gregory XV (1621-1623)

Alessandro Ludovisi

The lack of plausible explanations for this motto leads O'Brien to comment, "The prophet, up to 1590, did not deal in generalities."

C o a Gregorio XV.svg

Lilium et roſa.



Lily and rose

Urban VIII (1623-1644)

Maffeo Barberini

This motto again may have been intended to suggest a heraldic device, but not one that matches Urban VIII's arms. Proponents of the prophecies have alternatively suggested that it is a reference to the bees that do occur on his arms, to the fleur-de-lis of his native Florence, or to his dealings in France (the lily) and England (the rose).

C o a Urbano VIII.svg

Iucunditas crucis.



Delight of the cross

Innocent X (1644-1655)

Giovanni Battista Pamphili

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Innocent X by noting that he was raised to the pontificate around the time of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

C o a Innocenzo X.svg

Montium cuſtos.



Guard of the mountains

Alexander VII (1655-1667)

Fabio Chigi

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Alexander VII by noting that his papal arms include six hills, though this was not an uncommon device, and this explanation would not account for the "guard" portion of the motto.

C o a Alessandro VII.svg

Sydus olorum.



Star of the swans

Clement IX (1667-1669)

Giulio Rospigliosi

This again may have been intended to be taken as an allusion to heraldry; O'Brien notes that there is an Italian family with arms featuring a swan with stars, but it had no relation to Clement IX. Proponents of the prophecies have claimed he had a room called the "chamber of swans" during the conclave.

C o a Clemente IX.svg

De flumine magno.



From a great river

Clement X (1670-1676)

Emilio Altieri

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Clement X by claiming that the Tiber overflowed its banks at his birth, or as an obscure reference to his family name.

C o a Clemente X.svg

Bellua inſatiabilis.



Insatiable beast

Innocent XI (1676-1689)

Benedetto Odescalchi

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to the lion on Innocent XI's arms.

C o a Innocenzo XI.svg

Pœnitentia glorioſa.



Glorious penitence

Alexander VIII (1689-1691)

Pietro Ottoboni

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Alexander VIII by interpreting as a reference to the submission of the Gallican bishops. O'Brien notes, "There are glorious repentances during every pontificate."

C o a Alessandro VIII.svg

Raſtrum in porta.



Rake in the door

Innocent XII (1691-1700)

Antonio Pignatelli

Some sources discussing the prophecy give Innocent XII's family name as "Pignatelli del Rastello," which would provide a clear way for proponents to connect this motto to this pope (rastello or rastrello is Italian for rake). Others, however, give the pope's family name as simply "Pignatelli", and indicate that it is difficult to find a satisfactory explanation to associate the pope with the motto.

C o a Innocenzo XII.svg

Flores circundati.



Surrounded flowers

Clement XI (1700-1721)

Giovanni Francesco Albani

A medal of Clement XI was created with the motto, "Flores circumdati", drawn from his description in the prophecies, which were widely circulated at that time.

C o a Clemente XI.svg

De bona religione.



From good religion

Innocent XIII (1721-1724)

Michelangelo dei Conti

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Innocent XIII by interpreting it as a reference to the fact several popes had come from his family.

C o a Innocenzo XIII.svg

Miles in bello.



Soldier in War

Benedict XIII (1724-1730)

Pietro Francesco Orsini

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to particular wars that occurred during Benedict XIII's pontificate, or a figurative war against decadence in favour of austerity.

C o a Benedetto XIII.svg

Columna excelſa.



Lofty column

Clement XII (1730-1740)

Lorenzo Corsini

This may have been intended by the author of the prophecies as a reference to a pope of the Colonna family; a similar motto was used to describe to Martin V, who was pope before the publication of the prophecies. Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Clement XII as an allusion to a statue erected in his memory or the use of two columns from the Pantheon of Agrippa in a chapel he built.

C o a Clemente XII.svg

Animal rurale.



Country animal

Benedict XIV (1740-1758)

Marcello Lambertini

This may have been intended as a reference to armorial bearings, but it does not match Benedict XIV's arms. Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to this pope as a description of his "plodding ox" diligence.

C o a Benedetto XIV.svg

Roſa Vmbrię.



Rose of Umbria

Clement XIII (1758-1769)

Carlo Rezzonico

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Clement XIII as a reference to his elevation to sainthood of several Franciscans, to which order the motto can refer.

C o a Clemente XIII.svg

Vrſus uelox.



Swift bear (later misprinted as Cursus velox Swift Course or Visus velox Swift Glance)

Clement XIV (1769-1774)

Lorenzo Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli

Proponents of the prophecies have struggled to provide a satisfactory explanation of this motto; some authors claim without evidence that the Ganganelli arms featured a running bear, but this is dubious.

C o a Clemente XIV.svg

Peregrin9 apoſtolic9.



Apostolic pilgrim

Pius VI (1775-1799)

Giovanni Angelico Braschi

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius VI by suggesting it is a reference to his long reign.

C o a Pio VI.svg

Aquila rapax.



Rapacious eagle

Pius VII (1800-1823)

Barnaba Chiaramonti

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius VII by suggesting it is a reference to the eagle on the arms of Napoleon, whose reign as Emperor of the French took place during Pius' pontificate.

C o a Pio VII.svg

Canis & coluber.



Dog and adder

Leo XII (1823-1829)

Annibale Sermattei della Genga

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Leo XII by suggesting the dog and snake are allusions to his qualities of vigilance and prudence, respectively.

C o a Leone XII.svg

Vir religioſus.



Religious man

Pius VIII (1829-1830)

Francesco Saverio Castiglioni

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius VIII by suggesting it is a reference to his papal name, or the fact that he was not the first pope from his family.

C o a Pio VIII.svg

De balneis Ethrurię.



From the baths of Tuscany

Gregory XVI (1831-1846)

Mauro, or Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Gregory XVI by suggesting it is a reference to his membership in the Camaldolese Order, founded in the thirteenth century in Fonte Buono, called Balneum in Latin, in Etruria.

C o a Gregorio XVI.svg

Crux de cruce.



Cross from cross

Bl. Pius IX (1846-1878)

Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius IX by interpreting it as a reference to his difficulties ("crosses") with the House of Savoy, whose emblem is a cross. O'Brien notes, "A forger would be very disposed to chance some reference to a cross on account of its necessary connexion with all popes as well as the probability of its figuring, in some form or other, on the pope's arms."

Lumen in cœlo.



Light in the sky

Leo XIII (1878-1903)

Gioacchino Pecci

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Leo XIII by interpreting it as a reference to the star on his arms. O'Brien notes this coincidence would be much more remarkable had the prophecies referred to sydus (star), as they did when describing this same device on pre-publication Pope Innocent VII's arms.

C o a Leone XIII.svg

Ignis ardens.



Burning fire

St. Pius X (1903-1914)

Giuseppe Sarto

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius X by interpreting it as a reference to his zeal.

Pius X COA.svg

Religio depopulata.



Religion destroyed

Benedict XV (1914-1922)

Giacomo Della Chiesa

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Benedict XV by interpreting it as a reference to World War I and the Russian Revolution, which occurred during his pontificate.

CoA Benedetto XV.svg

Fides intrepida.



Intrepid faith

Pius XI (1922-1939)

Achille Ratti

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius XI by interpreting it as a reference to his faith and actions during the reign of Benito Mussolini.

C o a Pio XI.svg

Paſtor angelicus.



Angelic shepherd

Ven. Pius XII (1939-1958)

Eugenio Pacelli

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Pius XII by interpreting it as a reference to his role during the holocaust.

Pius 12 coa.svg

Paſtor & nauta.



Shepherd and sailor

Bl. John XXIII (1958-1963)

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link the "sailor" portion of this motto to John XXIII by interpreting it as a reference to his title Patriarch of Venice, a maritime city.

John 23 coa.svg

Flos florum.



Flower of flowers

Paul VI (1963-1978)

Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini

Proponents of the prophecies have attempted to link this motto to Paul VI by interpreting it as a reference to the fleurs-de-lis on his arms.

Paul 6 coa.svg

De medietate lunę.



Of the half moon

John Paul I (1978)

Albino Luciani


John paul 1 coa.svg

De labore solis.



From the labour of the sun / Of the eclipse of the sun

Bl. John Paul II (1978-2005)

Karol Wojtyła

Proponents of the prophecies find significance in the occurrence of solar eclipses (elsewhere in the world) on the dates of John Paul II's birth (18 May 1920) and funeral (8 April 2005). Other attempts to link the pope to the motto have been "more forced," included drawing a connection to Copernicus (who formulated a comprehensive heliocentric model of the solar system), as both were Polish and lived in Kraków for parts of their lives.

John paul 2 coa.svg

Gloria oliuę.



Glory of the olive.

Benedict XVI (2005-2013)

Joseph Ratzinger

Proponents of the prophecies generally try to draw a connection between Benedict and the Olivetan order to explain this motto: Benedict's choice of papal name is after Saint Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Order, of which the Olivetans are one branch. Other explanations make reference to him as being a pope dedicated to peace and reconciliations of which the olive branch is the symbol.

BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg

   In perſecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit.


In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit.

In the Lignum Vitae, the line "In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit." forms a separate sentence and paragraph of its own. While often read as part of the "Peter the Roman" prophecy, other interpreters view it as a separate, incomplete sentence explicitly referring to additional popes between "glory of the olive" and "Peter the Roman".

   Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum. Finis.


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 dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.

Francis (2013-present)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Many analyses of the prophecy note that it is open to the interpretation that additional popes would come between the "glory of the olive" and Peter the Roman. Popular speculation by proponents of the prophecy attach this prediction to Benedict XVI's successor. Since Francis' election as Pope, proponents in internet forums have been striving to link him to the prophecy. Theories include a vague connection with Francis of Assisi, whose father was named Pietro (Peter).

Insigne Francisci.svg