I recently stumbled on a fascinating book ‘101 Surprising facts about Church History‘ by Fr. David Meconi, SJ. It’s an illustrated book giving us some sneak peeks into the some of the most interesting things that happened in the history of the Church. His selection ranges from the “I did not know that” to the weirdest stuff ever. From a beheaded saint picking up his head and walking …and then preaching along the way, to a Pope’s dead body being exhumed and put on trial, it’s got everything. Have a look at my top 10 from this book and Church History will never be boring again.
Number 1: St Peter’s Basilica is NOT the Pope’s cathedral.
In fact it is the Archbasilica of St John Lateran in Rome which houses the ‘cathedra‘ of the Pope. Hence it is also the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome of which the Pope is the head. Curious fact: The President of France is the ex-officio ‘first and only honorary canon’ of the archbasilica, a title that the heads of state of France have held since King Henry IV.
Number 2: Six saints in ONE family!
I’ve come across families boasting about the number of priests and nuns in the family. But 6 saints in one family? Feel sorry for the members of that family that didn’t make the cut.
Number 3: The 10 missing days in history
The calendar that we use widely today was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. However, in the transition from the old Julian calendar to the new Gregorian one, 10 days had to be chopped off. Did you know that Greece adopted the modern calendar only in 1923?
Number 4: A dead Pope put on trial – The Cadaver Synod
This is too strange to be commented upon. Just read it.
Read more: The Cadaver Synod
Number 5: The Devil’s Advocate
Number 6: Patron Saints of the strange kind
Number 7: The first book to be printed was the Bible
The Holy Bible continues to remain the largest selling book today.
Number 8: Ever think of monks while sipping your beer?
Number 9: The Church and Computing: Hypertext
Number 10: Papal Resignation
That’s my top-10. If your curiosity has been lit and you want to learn more, I recommend you buy the book.