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The mystery of the first woman Pope called Joan
Vatican

The mystery of the first woman Pope called Joan

Through the years and thanks to old documents, transcripts, witnesses, books and movies we know that the Catholic church history is full of mysteries and opacity but none of them captures the crowd’s attention as much as the legend of Ioannes Anglicus, the first and the only woman that has ever become Pope.

Although she only reigned for a couple of years in the medieval ages, the story was widely spread and told until today, to the point that we still can’t tell if it really existed or not.

Ioannes was the daughter of a munk according to the legend and she grew up in a very religious environment which made her be soon involved in Catholicism. She learnt greek with the support of her mother (access to education for women was forbidden) and was able to read the Bible.

She traveled around Constantinople, Athens, Germania until she established in Rome in 848 where she was a teacher.

In 855 and after the death of the Pope, always disguised as a man, she wisely managed to be elected Pope and she was called Benedict III or Joan VIII.

Despite she was a “pope” two years later she became pregnant of an ambassador with such a bad luck that she started feeling the contractions of the delivery during a procession which caused her to deliver the baby in the middle of the street.

Legend tells that she either died from natural causes from the delivery or she was stoned  by the furious people gathered in the procession.

The story says that the Vatican quickly removed her from the list of Popes and settled a very curious system to check if the Pope was really a man.

An ecclesiastical oficial had to verify the man’s virility by manually checking his attributes on a holed chair. Once the inspection was finished, if everything was ok he had to yell: “he has 2 and they hang very properly”.

Fortunately, society has evolved and lots of things have changed since then. Women are now having access to education and are becoming more recognize on their jobs and careers and some religions even accept them to predicate and exercise the priesthood.

If you liked this legend and want to hear more about it or see on site where it all happened, you definitely have to book this Group Vatican Tour. From March 8th to 10th, take advantage of the special price and discount for International’s Women Day and let’s all celebrate that date in such a special way.

Aerial view of St. Peter's Square from Dome

The Vatican is an institution full of art and culture and it helds some of the most precious paintings, sculptures and books from all the world. 

The Vatican Museums are a must. Located in the smallest country in the world, the Vatican Museums are home to one of the most extraordinary art collections every. With its 70,000 works of art displayed across 54 galleries, the Vatican collection will leave you breathless.

One of its main attractions is the Sistine Chapel, where you will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to admire its stunning ceiling and “the Last Judgement” Michelangelo’s breathtaking masterpiece and don’t forget St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

sistine chapel ceiling michelangelo vatican group experience

After all this amazing feedback i can only recommend you to book the Group Vatican Tour experience because it’s a win win, an absolutely must you can’t miss to celebrate International Women’s Day.

woman sitting in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican Tour

 

Written by Carla Valero

27th Feb 2020