The first Pope is considered to be apostle Peter. Catholics believe that the last Pope will also be Peter. It will be under the rule of the pontificate Peter II that the Antichrist will appear on the Earth and the Apocalypse will begin.
The election of Pope is carried by the conclave - a meeting of cardinals. The meeting can last for an indefinite time, until the 2/3 of Cardinals vote for one candidate. In 1268 conclave met for more than two years. The Cardinals could not make up their mind until they were served no more food. Only then did they finally choose Gregory X.
In 1276 the Pope was the Portuguese Pedro Julian, who took the name John XXI. The funny thing is that the previous one was John XIX, but Julian for some reason decided that there was a mistake in the Pope list, and that the number of Popes with the name John was 20. As it turned out later, Pope John XXI was wrong: John XX never existed, but it was too late to correct anything.
There is a legend that the Papal throne was once occupied by a woman - Pope Joan. Supposedly, the deception was discovered only after a while when she delivered a baby during one of the ceremonial processions. Since then, all the Popes until Leo X were tested for the presence of manhood.
Pope Julius II was a great swordsman. It was him, who created the well-known Papal Swiss Guard, as in those days the Swiss mercenaries were considered the best soldiers in Europe.
The shortest reign in the history of Catholic Church was the reign of Leo XI, who died only 27 days after his accession to the throne.
Until 1992, Vatican never publicly acknowledged that the Earth revolves around the sun. It was only in 1992 that Pope John Paul II officially acknowledged Galileo's theory, and called the execution of the scientist an ''unfair'' one.
The first Pope to visit a Muslim shrine became John Paul II, who in 2001 conducted a prayer service in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.