8th CENTENARY OF THE DEATH OF INNOCENT III

8th CENTENARY OF THE DEATH OF INNOCENT III  

This year marks the eighth centenary of the death of one of the most important popes in history. Lotario dei Conti di Segni was born in Anagni in 1160 and elected pope at the early age of 38, taking the name Innocent III. He was a man of refined culture, deeply religious, rich in interior piety, dedicated to an austere asceticism, and a tireless priest and pastor of souls. During the course of his papal ministry, he reaffirmed the concept of the pope as "Vicarius Christi" (Vicar of Christ), confirming the superiority of spiritual over temporal power. He was also the pope who called the Fourth Lateran Council, one of the Church’s most important given the decisions made in areas of dogma and discipline. The postage stamp produced by Czech artist Marina Richterova shows Saint Francis, the figure of a crusader and an image of the Ottoman Empire. The elements form a design which shows symbolically the historic role of Innocent III in various areas and his openness to addressing the challenges of the time, including the recognition of the role and importance of the mendicant orders, and the actions taken against the spread of heretical movements such Catharism in France. The map of the Ottoman Empire and the woodpecker in flight towards the east symbolize instead the determination and perseverance Pope Innocent showed in trying to reunite the churches of West and East.