VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Following are some statistics on the papacy of Pope Benedict, who on Thursday becomes the first pontiff in 597 years to step down.
The pope led the Roman Catholic Church for seven years, 10 months and nine days, which is close to the average length of the 265 popes before him.
His predecessor John Paul II reigned for 26 years, five months and 15 days, making his the third-longest pontificate. The longest papal reign is believed to be that of St Peter, the first pope, who presided for at least 34 years.
One man, Stephen II, was elected in 757 but died four days later before he was officially installed. The shortest reign in modern times was that of John Paul I, who reigned for just 33 days in 1978 before suddenly dying.
During his pontificate, Benedict:
-- made 30 trips throughout Italy and 24 trips abroad, three to his native Germany, for a total of more than 160,000 km traveled
-- wrote three encyclicals: Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) in 2006, Spe Salvi (In hope we were saved) in 2007 and Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth) in 2009
-- authored a three-volume study “Jesus of Nazareth”, which he published under both his title Pope Benedict and his given name Joseph Ratzinger. The first volume subtitled “From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration” was published in 2008, the second “Holy Week: from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection” came out in 2011 and final volume “The Infancy Narratives” in 2012
-- gave a book-length interview to German journalist Peter Seewald published in 2010 under the title Light of the World. It was his third interview-book with Seewald
-- proclaimed 44 saints in 10 canonization ceremonies and confirmed the sainthood of the 12th century German mystic Hildegard of Bingen
-- created 90 cardinals in four consistories (meetings of the College of Cardinals), 61 of whom are still under 80 years old and eligible to enter the conclave next month to elect his successor. Of that total, 83 are still alive
-- convoked four extraordinary consistories for cardinals to discuss issues as varied as dealing with ultra-traditionalists and liturgical reform (2006), dialogue with other Christians and with Muslims (2007), the Church’s response to the sexual abuse scandal (2010) and the campaign to revitalize the Church’s missionary character (2011)
-- called five assemblies of the Synod of Bishops to discuss the Eucharist (2005), the Church in Africa (2009), the Word of God in the Church’s mission (2008), the Church in the Middle East (2010) and the New Evangelization (2012)
Reporting by Tom Heneghan; Editing by Alison Williams