Religion: A Place in the Country

On Aug. 6, 1637, scarlet-robed members of the College of Cardinals filed into the Vatican's Pauline Chapel for a solemn Mass in honor of Cardinal Zacchia, who was considered a shoo-in for election as the next Pope. The incumbent, Pope Urban VIII, supposedly lay dying in his villa at Castel Gandolfo 17 miles away in the Alban hills, and the cardinals were eager to show their esteem for the heir apparent. Just as the Mass was about to begin, the doors of the chapel swung open and Urban VIII, clad in full pontifical robes,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!