Pope Urban VII was the shortest-reigning pope in history, and only reigned for 13 days. He was elected as leader of the Catholic Church on 14 September 1590 and died of malaria on 27 September 1590 in Rome before his coronation. Urban VII’s death occurred just two weeks after the death of his predecessor, Pope Sixtus V. In addition to having the shortest papal tenure in history, Pope Urban VII made a historical decision during his time as pope: the first ban on smoking in history. The law made smoking in a church punishable by ex-communication, and remained in effect until 1724, when it was repealed by Pope Benedict XIII who was a smoker.
More about popes:
- The longest-reigning pope was Pope Pius IX who reigned for 31 years from 1846 to 1878.
- Only three popes in history have been elected when under the age of 25; however, this has not occurred since the 996 election of Pope Gregory V, who was 24 years old.
- In 236 A.D., a man by the name of Fabian who was not even nominated as a candidate was named the pope after a dove landed on his shoulder, which was considered a sign of the Holy Spirit.