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Vicarius Filii Dei

Vicarius Filii Dei, Vicar of the Son of God in Latin, is a title mentioned in the forged Donation of Constantine as belonging to Saint Peter. Seventh-day Adventists claim that it is a title possessed by the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church. However the Roman Catholic Church categorically denies this.

The 1877 Papal Tiara
supposedly containing
Vicarius Filii Dei
When numerised (see below), the words Vicarius Filii Dei produces the total of 666, a number described as the 'number of the beast' (ie, Antichrist in the Book of Revelations). Seventh-day Adventists claim this is evidence that the pope is the Antichrist. They also claim such a title is written on the Papal Tiara, the papal crown.

Table of contents
1 The 'sources'
2 The reality
3 Numerising Vicarius Filii Dei
4 See Also
5 External links

The 'sources'

Four definitive sources are sometimes given.

1. A protestant woman visiting Rome said she witnessed Pope Gregory XVI wearing a crown with the words on it, in or around 1832; 3

2. Pope Gregory XVI had worn a papal tiara with these words clearly visible on it at a Pontifical High Mass during Easter 1845;

3. The 'existence' of a photograph of a papal funeral at the start of the twentieth century (which probably means the funeral of Pope Leo XIII in 1903 but could possibly be Pope Pius X's in 1914) showing the words on a papal tiara.

4. The tiara (with the words mentioned) is always used to crown popes, but specifically was used in 1939 to crown Eugenio Pacelli as Pope Pius XII.

The reality

The claim is demonstrably false.

The story seems to owe its modern origins to an inaccurately written story in an american Roman Catholic magazine, Our Catholic Visitor of 15 November 1914, in which the author erroneously referred to the mythical title. Others inside and outside Catholicism repeated the claim as fact, based on the article. The article was subsequently corrected twice in issues of the magazine published in September 1917 and August 1941. Historically, where this story first developed remains unclear. It did however spread, being accepted as 'fact' by catholics and non-catholics alike (though with each side attaching different meanings to it). Historians, academics and mainstream religious leaders view the story as a classic anti-catholic urban myth, a story for which not the slightest shred of evidence has been found, even by the Seventh Day Adventists who have spent over a century extensively searching for the evidence.

The Seventist-day Adventist Church all but abandoned the search for the 'evidence' after years of fruitless searching, while never abandoning the belief that such a tiara with such a title existed. The search was resurrected when a member of the Church managed to get access to the original Our Catholic Visitor article, the article itself being treated as evidence that efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to 'suppress' the truth had failed. Though no other evidence apart from one article in one magazine in 1914 (which subsequently stated twice that it had got its facts wrong) has ever been produced, the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues trying to prove both existence of such a papal title and of a tiara bearing the title. It also claims that all popes are crowned with the tiara with the words Vicarius Filii Dei on it. When a Roman Catholic Church denial was issued, it was suggested that the words might have appeared on some mitre rather than a crown, or on some crown deliberately hidden from view.

Numerising Vicarius Filii Dei

The following is the basis of claim that Vicarius Filii Dei, when numerised, produces the total of 666. It is based on the roman numeral value of certain letters.

See Also

External links