The Prophecy of The Popes

Attributed to Saint Malachy



The Prophecy of the Popes attributed to Saint Malachy {Malachy O’Morgair Archbishop of Armagh Ireland} allegedly predicted the Succession of Popes up until modern times. Malachi's Prophecy of the Popes begins with Pope Celestine II who was elected in 1143 and ends with a pope described in the prophecy as "Peter the Roman", whose pontificate will end with the destruction of the city of Rome and the Final Judgment. Since the departure from this World of Pope John Paul II ,there is one more Pope remaining after the current one till the list ends.

Prophecies of St. Malachy

The Life and Death of Saint Malachy the Irishman




Malachy O'morgair   /    Authenticity and Authorship of The Prophecy of the Popes  /   Malachi's  List Late Medieval Pope Prophecies  /  References and Bibliography

 Saint Malachy

The Life and Death of Saint Malachy the Irishman

Malachy was born in what is now Northern Ireland and is believed by many to have had the gift of prophecy.  He had his visions between the end of 1139 and the beginning of 1140 during his visit to Rome. Catholic tradition has it that he was granted a vision of all the remaining popes and wrote down a few key descriptive words about each, which has come to be known as Malachi's list or The Prophecy of the Popes . He committed the visions to paper and handed the manuscript to Pope Innocent II who allegedly placed the manuscript in the archives where they remained "unread" for nearly four hundred years.

Testament to his alleged Prophetic abilities

On April 1, 1129, Saint Ceolloch, age 50, died at Ardpatrick, Limerick. In a vision Saint Malachy saw a woman of great stature and reverend mien, who on being asked, said she was the Bride of Ceolloch. Then she gave to Malachy a bishop's staff and disappeared. A few days later Saint Malachy received from the dying Ceolloch a letter naming him archbishop of Armagh and sending him the bishop's staff, which Saint Malachy recognized as the staff given to him in the vision.


Authenticity and Authorship of  The Prophecy of the Popes

After being locked away for four Centuries , they were discovered in the Vatican archives in 1590 {1} and in 1559 they were published by a Benedictine historian -Arnold de Wyon. Controversy ensued over the authenticity and authorship of the prophecies.

 -One claim was that the prophecies were written in 1590 by a Cardinal Simoncelli to influence the electors in favor of his choice for Pope. No evidence was ever produced to substantiate this claim.

 -Another theory/claim was that Nostradamus had actually written the list and attributed to Malachy in order to avoid being blamed for the destruction of the papacy.

The silence of 400 years on the part of many scholars , in particular St. Bernard who wrote the "Life of St. Malachy", is a strong argument against the authenticity of Malachi's list / Prophecy of the Popes, However the fact that they were hidden in the Archives during these 400 years would tend to counteract this argument.

 {1} The prophecy's symbolic terms are extremely accurate up until 1590, but become more vague thereafter, which also lead to the claims of forgery in the 16th Century .


  Malachi's List / The Prophecy of the Popes

The Prophecy of the Popes/ Malachi's list- listed 112 future Popes, John Paul II is the 110th. Some believe Malachy predicted that Armageddon is just around the corner and that after the current pope there will only be one more pope before the end of the world. This belief is based primarily upon the Prophecies accredited to Malachy.

Scholars both Catholic and Non Catholic who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have usually succeeded in discovering some point, or similarity in their application to the individual popes, their country, their name, their coat of arm, birth-place, etc... . Unfortunately, like the works of Nostradamus, some of the Malachy prophecies were so vague that they could be attached to just about anyone that the College of Cardinals elected as pope. There are a few very notable exceptions to this .


20th/ 21st Century Popes

259 Pius X 1903-1914  Ignis ardens  [Ardent Fire]
In 1909 during an audience with the general Chapter of the Franciscans this pope fell into a semi-trance with his head sunk on his chest and after a few minutes he came to and opened his eyes with a look of horror on his face. He reputedly cried out: What I have seen was terrible… Will it be myself? Will it be my successor? What is certain is that the Pope will quit Rome, and in fleeing from the Vatican he will have to walk over the dead bodies of his priests. Do not tell anyone while I am alive (cf. Stephen Skinner, Millennium Prophecies , Carlton, p. 75). 


260 Benedict XV (1914-1922) Religio depopulata [Religion Depopularized]  Born in 1854 he spent many years in the diplomatic service. In 1907 he became Archbishop of Bologna and in 1914 Cardinal /Pope. During World War  I he made many attempts to restore peace and to relieve suffering. He died in 1922. The years of Pope Benedict's reign were overshadowed by the death of millions in World War I. 1917 saw the beginning of the rise of Bolshevism, as would be forewarned by the Lady of Fatima.

261 Pius XI (1922-1939) Fides intrepida  [Unshaken faith ] born in 1857. Appointed Prefect of the Vatican Library -1914, Papal Nuncio to Poland - 1919 and Cardinal Archbishop of Milan -1921. Elevated to the Papa he faced the rise of Fascism and Communism in the Western world. He died in 1939. Recent publications of Vatican documents show the tremendous pressure which was put on this Pope by the dictators of Italy and Germany. One could say that it was the Pope's unshaken faith in what he believed to be right which may have prevented even greater hardship than that which befell the Catholicism during his reign. 


262 Pius XII (1939-1958)
Pastor angelicus   Born in 1876 Eugenio Pacelli spent most of his career in the diplomatic service. From 1917 until 1929 he was Nuncio in Germany and in 1930 he became Cardinal Secretary of State. His elevation to the Papacy in 1939 was a matter of formality because no other person could have followed in the steps of his predecessor more aptly. Pius XII died in 1958. Recent publications, particularly that by Pinchas Lapide ( The Last Three Popes and the Jews, Souvenir Press, 1967) and the publication of the Vatican documents relating to the reign of Pius XII, have given to the world unshakable and irrefutable proof of this Pope's greatness and spirituality. He was in the truest sense of the word an Angelic Pastor to the flock committed to his care

Hitler's Pope : The Secret History of Pius XII

Pius XII and the Holocaust: Understanding the Controversy

The Myth of Hitler's Pope


263 John XXIII (1958-1963) Pastor et Nauta (pastor and marine)
prior to his election he was patriarch of Venice, a marine city, home of the gondolas


264 Paul VI (1963-1978)
Flos florum
(flower of flowers) his coat of arms displayed three lilies.


265 John Paul I (1978) De medietate Lunae  [of the half of the moon]
Albino Luciani, born in Canale d'Ogardo, diocese of Belluno, (beautiful moon) Elected pope on august 26, his reign lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half...

Elected Pope on August 26 of 1978, The moon was in its last quarter - half the moon was visible-. He died on September 28, when the moon was again in its last quarter.- half the moon was visible- The length of his Reign was 33 days, Slightly more than the length of one lunar cycle, and possibly one day for every year that Christ walked the Earth.

It has been speculated that Pope John Paul was murdered, it part to fulfill the Prophecy. See In Gods Name - David Yallop

“We will go back, My child, in history, a short history, and remember well what had happened in Rome to John, Pope John, whose reign lasted 33 days. O My child, it is history now, but it is placed in the book that lists the disasters in mankind. He received the horror and martyrdom by drinking from a glass. It was a champagne glass given to him by a now deceased member of the clergy and the Secretariat of the State [Cardinal Villot].” - Our Lady of the Roses, May 21, 1983

In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I

A Thief in the Night: The Mysterious Death of Pope John Paul I


266 John Paul II (1978-2005) De labore Solis [of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labor of the sun] Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse. He also comes from behind the former Iron Curtain. He might also be seen to be the fruit of the intercession of  ..the Woman Clothed with the Sun labouring in Revelation 12 (because of his devotion to the Virgin Mary).

The "Official interpretation" is that The sun constantly travels around the world. And so does Pope John Paul II. He is the most traveled Pope in history. His Reign is marked by his constant World travels.


267 Benedict XVI  2005-   Gloria olivae.  Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger chose the name Benedict XVI, which has been seen by some as the fulfillment the Prophecy of the Popes. The Order of Saint Benedict, whose symbols include the olive branch. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, elected in April 2005, is not a Benedictine, but did choose Benedict XVI as his regal name.  By choosing the Benedict, Ratzinger linked himself with St. Benedict, who in turn is linked to the Olivetans, a small sub-order of Benedictines with currently about a hundred members


  The Last Pope

 ???   In persecutione extrema [In extreme persecution] Petrus Romanus [Peter the Roman] " the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people." The End? )

There are several interpretations pertaining to the last Pope listed on the Malachy list.
  1. Additional Popes, not listed by St. Malachy occur between Gloria Olivae and Petrus Romanus
    1. Gloria Olivae is immediately followed by Petrus Romanus but no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus, therefore, he and Gloria Olivae might be one and the same pope.
    2. Because no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus, any number of popes could intervene between these two popes.
    3. Because no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus, it is also possible that he will not be an actual pope . Under this scenario, a catastrophe at the Vatican wipes out the upper echelon of the Catholic Church during either a consistory or a conclave of the College of Cardinals. As a result, with no viable College of Cardinals surviving to elect a new pope, this particular scenario would have a surviving official of the Roman Curia succeeding to the top leadership of the Church but not as Pope. Since he would not rise to the Papacy itself but instead would become, in effect, the top caretaker of the Church, he would not need to assume a new papal name such as Peter, but would keep the name he has had since his birth in Italy, and that name already would be Peter .


  2. whether the Papacy ends with Petrus Romanus, differing views are held:
    1. Petrus Romanus will be the final Pope. The end of his papacy will mark either the end of the papacy, the end of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church's final triumph, and/or the end of this world
    2. There will be additional Popes following Petrus Romanus, about which Malachy did not write. There is also the possibility that these additional popes might be considered antipopes, which could justify their omission in St. Malachy's eyes
    3. If Petrus Romanus was a later addition to the prophecy, that leaves Gloria Olivae- The current Pope, as the last listed Pope. That could still mean that there are or are not more Popes to come.
    4. "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End." It has been noticed concerning Petrus Romanus, who according to St. Malachy's list is to be the last pope, that the prophecy does not say that no popes will intervene between him and his predecessor designated Gloria olivoe. It merely says that he is to be the last, so that we may suppose as many popes as we please before "Peter the Roman". Cornelius a Lapide refers to this prophecy in his commentary "On the Gospel of St. John" (C. xvi) and "On the Apocalypse" (cc. xvii-xx), and he endeavours to calculate according to it the remaining years of time.

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The Late Medieval Pope Prophecies:

The Genus nequam Group.

Recently Edited by Martha H. Fleming. Focuses on a group of manuscripts known as  Genus nequam group, the earliest , from the fourteenth-century prophesied the fortunes of the Church from the papacy of Nicholas III (1277-1280), and into the rule of Benedict XI (1303-1304).

-- An article from: The Catholic Historical Review on The Late Medieval Pope Prophecies    [download]


References and Bibliography

The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome : The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium by John Hogue

Prophecies Concerning the Popes by Henry James Forman

An historical and critical account of the so-called prophecy of St. Malachy regarding the succession of Popes by M. J O'Brien

St. Malachy's Prophecy by Page Morgan

The Prophecies of St Malachy & St Columbkille by Peter Bander, H. E. Cardinale and Joel Wells


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