Coat of arms Holy See-1-
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church and head of state of Vatican City.

The office of the Pope is called the papacy. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction is often called the "Holy See" (Sancta Sedes in Latin), or the "Apostolic See" based upon the Church tradition that the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred in Rome.

A its inception, the pope was elected by a body of clergymen. The Sacred College of Cardinals, which dates to the 9th Century, became the entity primarily responsible for selecting the pope.

While the office was not temporal at its founding, it did gain substantial temporal powers through the course of history, peaking in the Middle Ages. In recent centuries, the papacy's temporal powers have been considerably reduced.

This article lists the known popes found in the works of Harry Turtledove after the Point of Divergence. Many popes who served before the POD of a given alternate history are mentioned in passing. Also stories set in OTL may reference past popes, or even the sitting pope.

Agent of ByzantiumEdit

In the seventh century, Emperor Constans II succeeded in regaining Italy from the Lombards. He installed his own Bishop of Rome since he disapproved of the doctrines of the incumbent. That individual fled to the Franco-Saxon kingdoms. The Byzantines remained in control of Rome and took care that all subseqent Popes would be subservient politically to the Throne and theologically to the Patriarch of Constantinople. The exiled Pope started his own rival line, under the Franco-Saxon protection, whose authority was also accepted by the Anglelanders who were politically opposed to the Franco-Saxons, and was also accepted (secretly) by some people under the Imperial rule. Thus, there was created a permanent situation of two rival Popes. Generation after generation, each of the competing Popes strongly condemened his rival as a heretic, but neither had the power to end the schism. It was still like that nearly seven hundred years later, at the time of Basil Argyros, and likely to go on indefinitely.

"Before the Beginning"Edit

When the time-viewer revealed that the Jews were indeed God's chosen people, the pope led the Vatican in converting to Judaism.

Crosstime TrafficEdit

The GladiatorEdit

The Papacy was a religious institution which survived the Soviet Union's victory in the Cold War. It was implicitly understood by all that the Soviet government didn't want to risk the anger of staunchly Catholic populations in countries such as the Italian People's Republic.

Pope Pius XIV was reigning in 2097.

In High PlacesEdit

After the Great Black Deaths wiped out 80% of the population of Europe, the papacy was forever changed. As the plague ran for decades, the reigning pope was horrified by the arrival of a religious leader named Henri, who preached patience and modesty, with the promise of a better world. When he was proclaimed the Second Son of God, the sitting Pope, then headquartered in Avignon, colluded with the King of France in ordering Henri's torture and execution on the wheel. The next day, both the Pope and the King went to church to give thanks for Henri's death. In a freak accident, the church collapsed, killing both men. Shortly thereafter, the Great Black Deaths ran its course, validating Henri in the eyes of his followers. The death of the pope was seen as a miracle, and the Second Revelation and the Final Testament quickly overran Catholicism in what little remained of Christendom.

"Islands in the Sea"Edit

In 769, more than 50 years after the fall of Constantinople, the Papacy, now headed by Pope Constantine II in Rome, was still scrambling to hold back the rising tide of Islam, with limited success.

"Under St. Peter's"Edit

Each and every pope since St. Peter was fed upon by Jesus, who was transformed into a vampire shortly after he was crucified. This practice was kept secret from the world, and was known only by the reigning pope and the Order of the Pipistrelle, which was responsible for maintaining the practice.

At least one pope, Honorius I, became a vampire himself as a result of this practice. Pope John Paul I did not turn into one, but his health never recovered, and he died not long after ascending to the papacy.

Referenced PopesEdit

Other PopesEdit

"But It Does Move"Edit

Urban VIII, the reigning Pope, plays an important background role.

The Hot WarEdit

Pope Pius XII is fleetingly referenced in Fallout.


Several OTL Popes up to the early 8th century are referenced. Since the story is told from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox ruler Justinian II of the Byzantine Empire, the papacy is not presented in a favorable light.

Ruled BritanniaEdit

Pope Sixtus V kept his promise to pay one million gold ducats to Spain for conquering heretical England in 1588.

Southern VictoryEdit

In The Grapple we learn that Pius XII reigns in 1943. As this is 81 years after the POD, it is unknown whether he is the same individual who used that numeral in OTL.

The War That Came EarlyEdit

Pope Pius XII is referenced fleetingly in Coup d'Etat as the reigning Pope. As his accession occurs after Italy's entry into an allohistorical version of World War II, it is conceivable he is someone other than Eugenio Pacelli.


Pius XII reigns from 1939 until he is killed by a German atomic bomb in 1944. While the papacy is referenced in the subsequent Colonization series, the reigning popes go unnamed. 

Historical Popes in non-Papal rolesEdit

In addition to his "secret history" in "Under St. Peter's" listed above, Saint Peter appears directly in "Shock and Awe" as a guerilla fighter. He is captured and executed sometime around AD 30, before he can found the Church.

In addition to his "Under St. Peter's" backstory role, Pope John Paul II, in his youthful identity of Father Karol Wojtyla, appears in The Hot War: Armistice, set in 1952. He preaches a sermon supporting the Polish uprising against Soviet domination. As his scene concludes with him in mortal danger, it is unclear whether he survives to the end of the novel.[1]


  1. Armistice, p 373.

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