Apr 072011

Related posts:
1/ Pope Benedict XVI becomes the 7th oldest pope (since 1400), July 19, 2010
2/ Youngest popes (since 1400), June 24, 2010
3/ Length of the past papacies, July 28, 2010

by Anura Guruge

We do not have reliable (or complete) ‘anniversary’ dates, in particular their birthdays, for the first 204 popes. Complete records are only available as of 1400, i.e., starting with Innocent VII (#205) 1404 – 1406, and even then the birth dates of the first four, Innocent VII to Eugene IV (#208), are based on estimates. The only pope to have abdicated since 1400, viz. Gregory XII (#206), who did so to help bring to an end the Great Western Schism, happens to be the second pope in this list of four with uncertain birthdays.

One thing that becomes clear is that there is no discernible ‘pattern’ as to a preferred age at which popes get elected — though the expression ‘a fat pope is followed by a young pope,’ definitely seems to have a role when it comes to age. Lets start with an overall snap shot showing age elected, reign length and age at end for all 62 of the last popes.

<< click on charts for an enlarged version >>

Ages of the last 62 popes by Anura Guruge

Age of the pope when elected by Anura Guruge

Notice that there have only been three (3) instances when successive popes were the same age when elected, the most recent of these being Paul VI (#263) an John Paul I (#264). In reality there are only 18 instances where successive popes are within 5 years in age of each other, plus or minus, at the time of election. See below.

  2 Responses to “The Last 62 Popes [1400 to Now] — Study of Ages”

  1. My precisely dated papal lives begin with Innocent X…are you making judgement calls on his predecessors or have you somehow figured out the definitive dates despite Salvador Miranda being unsure?

  2. Good for YOU Louis, BUT what is YOUR point … yet again? I have dates, backed up by at least two sources, going back to Nicholas V. That you don’t have these only tells me ONE THING — you haven’t looked hard enough. I didn’t use Salvador’s data. There are, you know, other sources other than Salvador. You may NOT be familiar with these, BUT there are even things called BOOKS.
    P.S., If you send me your abbreviated list, I can see how accurate it is.

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