Popes throughout history

A selection of the 265 popes who have served as head of the Catholic Church, from the recently retired Benedict XVI all the way back to St. Peter.

Pope Paul VI

April 1976: Pope Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini, at his Easter Address on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI attends the Epiphany Mass at the St. Peter's Basilica on January 6, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the ceremony the pontiff named four new bishops including his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI presides over his installation mass at the Basilica of St John Lateran May 7, 2005 in Rome, Italy. The Pope completed his papal installation at the cathedral he precided over as Bishop of Rome. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II waves to the crowd at the end of his annual Urbi Et Orbi (To the City and to the World) Christmas Message on December 25, 2004, in Vatican City. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II in Paris during to his visit to France in May 1980. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

John Paul I

August 1978: Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani, 1912 - 1978) being carried in the Papal Chair. He died after only 34 days in office. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Jean XXIII

Le pape Jean XXIII, Ange Joseph Roncalli (1881-1963, pontificat 1958-1963) vers 1959 --- Pope John XXIII, Ange Joseph Roncalli (1881-1963, pontificate 1958-1963) c. 1959

Pope Pius XII

December 1939: Pope Pius XII (1876 - 1958), Eugenio Pacelli, bestowing a blessing during a visit to the King and Queen of Italy in Rome, wearing his papal mitre. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XV

circa 1915: Pope Giacomo della Chiesa Benedict XV (1854 - 1922), pope from 1914. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII (1810 - 1903) originally Vincenzo Giocchino Pecci. Original Publication: People Disc - HG0215 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Leo XII

Pope Leo XII (1760 - 1829), sitting in full ceremonial attire on the throne. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Innocent X

Circa 1620, Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1574-1655). Pope from 1644-55, supported the Habsburgs in the Thirty Years War 1618-48, condemned Jansenism in 1653. Original Artwork: Engraving by Hinchliff after a painting by Velasquez. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Urban VIII

Circa 1620, Pope Maffeo Barberini VIII (1568 - 1644). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Paul III

Circa 1530, Pope Paul III (1468-1549). Pope 1534-49, originally Alessandro Farnese, began the Counter-Reformation, commissioned Michelangelo to build St. Peter's Basilica and to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, excommunicated Henry VIII of England 1538, estab (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Pope Alexander VI

Circa 1485, Pope Alexander VI (1431 - 1503). He is holding symbols of office. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pius II

Pope Pius II (Eneas "Enee" Silvio Piccolomini 1405-1464), fresco by Pinturicchio for "Libreria Piccolomini", cathedral of Siena

Celestine V

Circa 1294, Pietro di Morrone, became Pope Celestine V, (1215 - 1296), who held office as pope for 5 months in 1294, then resigned. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Adrian IV

Circa 1125, Pope Adrian IV, or Nicholas Breakspear (1100-1159), the first and only Englishman to become Pope. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Clement II

Circa 1047 ; Bishop Suidger of Bamburg, who became Pope Clement II, ( - 1047), Pope from 1046 to 1047. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict VII

Circa 980 AD, Pope Benedict VII, from 974 - 983. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sergius III

Circa 911 AD, Sergius III, ( - 911), pope from 905 to his death. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Nicholas I

Saint Nicholas I (c. 825 - 867), known as Saint Nicholas the Great, was Pope from 858 to 867. Detail from painting by Raphael in the National Gallery, London, circa 860. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Paul I

Circa 760 AD, Engraving of Pope Paul I ( - 767). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Martin I

Circa 650 AD, Pope Martin I (d.654). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Gregory I

Circa 590 AD, Gregory the Great, Pope Gregory I (540 - 604). Pope and saint, holding a symbol of his office and wearing the papal crown . A dove is flying over his shoulder in a shaft of light. He introduced Gregorian chant to the liturgy. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

John I

Circa 520 AD, John I, the Pope between 523 - 526. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Sixtus III

Circa 430 AD, Pope Sixtus III (? - 440). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Celestine I

Circa 432 AD, Pope Celestine I, ( ? - 432), pope from 422 to 432. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pope Victor I

Circa 203 AD, Pope Victor I, St Victor, who held papal office from 189 to 199. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Anacletus

Circa 103 AD, St Cletus or Anacletus, Pope from 76 - 88 AD, and the third Pope. (Photo by Spencer Arnold/Getty Images)

Saint Peter

Circa 50 AD, Saint Peter (died circa 64 AD). A former fisherman from Capernaum, one of the Twelve Apostles of Christianity, preached Christ's mission in Jerusalem after the Crucifixion circa 33 - 44 AD, presumed to have died in Rome during Nero's suppressions. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

What to Read Next