The Book that Predicted Popes

Is this alleged prophecy the real deal?

By Google Arts & Culture

Lignum vitae, ornamentum, & decus Ecclesiae, in quinque libros divisum. In quibus totius sanctiss.

Predicting the popes

In 1595 in Venice, a five volume work titled Lignum Vitae, ornamentum et decus ecclesiae was published by Arnold Wion. This book included biographies of members of the Benedictine order.

Popes Benedict X To XvLIFE Photo Collection

On pages 307-311 you can find the 'Prophetia, S. Malachiae archiescopi de summis pontificibus' (the prophecy of Malachy), which includes predictions of future popes.

Pope Pius VII (1742-1823) (1819) by Sir Thomas LawrenceRoyal Collection Trust, UK

The ‘Prophetia’ consists of a list of 112 short Latin phrases which describe each of the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few anti-popes).

Pope Gregory XV (about 1622–1623) by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called il Guercino (‘The Squinter’)The J. Paul Getty Museum

Predicting the destruction of Rome

This list began with Pope Celestine II (who was elected in 1143) and concluded with "Peter the Roman", who was said to be the successor of Pope Benedict XVI. It also said that when Peter became pope it would cause the destruction of Rome.

LIFE Photo Collection

Is it the real deal?

Although some descriptions of the popes are very accurate, the Catholic Church has no official stance on the alleged prophecy and some Catholic theologians have even dismissed it as forgery.

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