The Roman Catholic Church consists of a couple dozen autonomous particular churches in full communion with the Holy See. Is there a list that indicates the particular church affiliation of each of the 266 popes (so far as is known)? Such a list would be particularly useful for answering the following questions:

  • How many popes has each particular church produced?
  • For each particular church, when was the first and last time one of their members became pope, and who were these popes?

I imagine that the Latin Church has produced the vast majority of popes, at least in recent times, but I'm very interested to know the facts and figures on popes from the Eastern Churches.

  • 2
    That one is easy: since the existence of autonomous particular churches, as we know them today (beginning roughly with the reunion of the Maronites into full communion), all the Popes have been Latin Rite. Indeed, the vast majority have been from Italy. Feb 9 '16 at 10:49
  • is the question trying to tease out at which point the Bishop of Rome, as a office, was instituted, or when the leadership of "the church" was recognized as being from that office? I see in this question two questions, but I may be missing the intent of the question. Feb 9 '16 at 22:37
  • No, the question is simply asking which church each pope was a member of prior to his election.
    – Psychonaut
    Feb 10 '16 at 18:50

The following article contains information on autonomous particular churches, including the dates on which they restored communion with Rome. This is apart from the Maronite Church which, it is said, never left communion with Rome.


As there has never been a Maronite Pope, and the earliest date for full communion for the others was 1595 (Ukranian), and all Popes since then have been Latin rite, there has never been a Pope drawn from what is now called an autonomous particular church, other than from the Latin autonomous particular church.

During the first millennium there were numerous Greek and Syrian popes. These were drawn from the Greek and Syrian churches (starting with St Peter of course), but to regard these as autonomous particular churches, long before the concept arose, would be retrospective. Wikipedia has an article called Popes by nationality and this is perhaps the nearest thing.

The Latin Bishop of Rome is ex officio the Pope. This was the traditional view. Arguably, in modern practice it is the other way round. Conclaves choose a Pope, who then becomes ex officio the Bishop of Rome. Between 1523 and 1978 all Popes were Italian. In choosing a Bishop for Rome, and a Primate for Italy, being Italian seems a significant factor. However there is nothing to stop a future conclave choosing someone from a different autonomous particular church as Pope.

Cardinal Agagianian of the Armenian Catholic church was rumoured to have been at one stage potentially elected at the conclave of 1963 but refused to accept. Opinion is divided as to whether he would, or someone in a similar position would, be required to adopt the Latin rite.

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