Little Known Black History Fact: African Popes

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Lastly, there was the 49th Pope, Pope Saint Gelasius I. This African pope declared February 14 as “Valentine’s Day” to honor Bishop Valentine, a priest who had been executied. Gelasius was the third and last Bishop of Rome of Berber North African origin.

The current African Cardinal in the running for Pope Benedict XVI’s position is Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64. Turkson is currently President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2009.

As Pope Benedict’s reign has completed, the Vatican has closed its doors and tied a red ribbon on the door to start the beginning steps toward the conclave ritual. The conclave is expected to begin shortly.

(Photo: AP)

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