Was there ever a female pope

Who was Pope Joan? -
Pope Joan was supposedly a female pontiff who reigned between 855 and 858.

Roots -
According to some accounts, Johannes Angelicus was born in Mainz, German, but moved to England as a young child, so she’s often referred to as an Englishwoman.

Love story -
Joan supposedly fell in love with an English Benedictine monk and traveled to Athens with him, where she studied. To do so, she disguised herself as a man.

Road to papacy -
Joan then moved to Rome and rose through the Church ranks, going from notary to the Curia, to cardinal, before finally reigning as pope (or "papessa").

Revelation -
According to the legend, it was not until 858 that Pope Joan's identity as a woman was revealed.

Origins of the legend -
The first account of the story dates back to a 13th-century text by Dominican chronicler Jean de Mailly.

The legend -
The story was then adopted by French Dominican Stephen of Bourbon in the13th-century text De septem donis Spiritu Sancti ('On the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit').

First account -
The first accounts of the story did not name the female pope. The legend only made reference to a woman who dressed as a man and became a pope.

Alternative version -
According to one of the manuscripts, after the revelation Joan was confined and deposed, but did not die until many years later.

Pope Joan’s son survived? -
And according to one version of the story, Pope Joan’s son became Bishop of Ostia.

Later versions -
Other versions of the story exist, with some even claiming that the female pope’s birth name was Agnes or Gilberta.

The story was widely accepted as a fact - The story of Pope Joan was accepted as a fact during the 14th and 15th centuries, including by the Council of Constance in 1415.

Maybe it's all a legend after all -
By the 16th century, both scholars and Catholic historians started to dismiss the story as fiction.

The story was refuted by Protestants - Then, during the 16th and 17th centuries, the story was used by Protestants as a satirical attack on the Catholic Church and the papacy.

Pope Joan -
The legend of the female pope may simply have its roots in a local Roman folktale.

In popular culture -
The legend of Pope Joan has inspired many fictional works, including novels, plays, video games, and films.

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