Editor's Note: There has for centuries been a controversy raging about the
occupancy of the "see of Peter" by a female. The following article was
copied from information received in a publication by The Protestant
Alliance, 77 Ampthill Rd., Flitwick, Bedford MK45 1BD, England.
"Tradition gives the title of John VIII to the female Pope, commonly called
Pope Joan. She is said to have been of English parentage, born at Mayence.
The date of her succession is stated to be A.D. 855, and she reigned 2
years, 5 months and 4 days.
"At an early age she assumed the male garb, and entered a monastery.
Still under disguise, she went to Rome, where she gained distinction by her
secular and theological lectures. She was elected Pope on the death of Leo
IV. During a solemn procession she was delivered of a child and expired. A
statue was erected on the spot to commemorate, or, as some say, to excite
abhorrence of the act.
"Emmanuel Rhoidis, a Greek, has undertaken the task of proving the
existence of a female pope, passing under the title of John VIII. A
translation of this is now, for the first time, presented to the English
reader." [Ed. note: From POPE JOAN by Rhoidis, translated by Lawrence
Durrell. "Platina, secretary to a reigning pope and Vatican librarian, felt
bound to include Pope Joan in the canon of the popes (John VIII)."]
"The reality of the existence and reign, as head of the Roman church, of
a female pope has been chronicled and maintained by a phalanx of Papal
champions, cardinals, bishops, priests, historians and even by officials of
the Papal Court. The following are some of the leading members of the Roman
church, among others, who have related the history as a fact: Anastasius,
librarian of Leo IX (A.D. 1049), Marianus Scotus the learned theologian at
the end of the 10th century; Siegbert, the Annalist, who lived about the
same period; Bishop Othon, the Dominican, brother-in-law of the Emporer
Conrad III; Martinus Polonus, Penitentiary to Popes John XX and Nicholas
III (A.D. 1277) and Almeric D'Auger, who dedicated his work NOMENCLATURE
CHRONIQUE DES EVEQUES DE ROME to Pope Urban V (A.D. 1562)
"THE NEUREMBERG CHRONICLE, which bears the date 1493, and is deposited
at Cologne, not only records her succession as a fact, but actually gives
what purports to be her portrait.
"Dr. Dollinger, then a true and loyal member of the Roman Church admits
that "in the 15th century hardly any more doubt about her shows itself.
Quite at the beginning of the century, a bust of Pope Joan was placed in
the Cathedral of Sienna, along with the busts of other Popes, and no one
took offence at it. It was not till two centuries later that, at the
pressing demand of Clement VIII (about A.D. 1602) Joan was metamorphised
into Pope Zacharias." (FABLES RESPECTING THE POPES OF THE MIDDLE AGES,
authorized English translation, 1871; page 30).
"The fact of the bust of Pope Joan existing for a long period `placed'
between Leo IV and Benedict III in the Cathedral of Sienna is beyond
denial. There is remained for upwards of two centuries."
HISTORY OF THE POPES HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION, J.H. Merle D'Auibigne,
ECUMENISM AND ROMANISM, Peter Doeswyck, pages 59,60
MEDIAEVIL ITALY, H.B. Cotterill, page 392.
BOWER'S HISTORY OF THE POPES, Bower, Vol. I, page 226.
HISTORY OF THE ROMAN PONTIFFS, Pope Anastasius, page 128.
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