Agatha's Religious Background Edit

When Agatha first encounters Othar Tryggvasen, after mentioning two of his known feats, she also credits him with saving Mount Horeb from the rain of mustard. In addition to Mount Horeb being mentioned in the book of Exodus, several of the plagues that Moses unleashed upon Egypt had the form of unusual rains. This suggests, as might be expected in any case from the similarity of the world of Girl Genius to our own, that she is familiar with the well-known Bible stories from childhood religious instruction, so that one of them would be a source of inspiration when she made up a scenario on the spur of the moment.

'All seven Popes...' Edit

Quoted/adapted from discussion at the Rogue Clanks:

Much to my surprise, I have found that even now we have more than one legitimate ruling Pope in existence (there's three!).

Of course, most everyone knows about Pope Benedict [nickname deleted] of the Roman Catholic Church (Holy See of St. Peter), but there is also the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy See of St. Mark, Shenouda III, of the Coptic Orthodox Church; and the Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.

Here's a wikiquote about some of the catfighting over the title:

Orthodox and the Eastern Orthodox Thrones.

In the Roman Catholic viewpoint, this title does not have the same meaning as that of the Bishop of Rome, who was the only Primate in the West to be given the title of Pope in the beginning of the fifth century. The title of Pope of Rome is considered by the Roman Catholic Church as the Supreme Pontiff, holding the office of the Roman See (being one of the successors of Saint Peter). On the other hand, both the Oriental Orthodox and Byzantine Orthodox Churches respond by saying that their respective heads are equal with Rome and also note that Rome has deviated too much already from their original understanding.

From the Roman Catholic Church's point of view, the Pope of Rome is elevated in dignity and jurisdiction above the other four Popes and Patriarchs of the Major Apostolic Thrones (Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem) or in other words, he is considered as their superior from the Catholic point of view. This view-point, however, is entirely rejected by the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is, in some respect, more conservative in its views and traditions.


-- Corgi

Do the other patriarchs consider themselves over and above any of the other bishops in their churches? Do they consider themselves to be over and above any of the bishops of the Catholic church?
I always understood that they continued in the original, historical christian style, that is they are being equals with any other patriarch in their church. The word "pope" may be the same word, and someone may apply it to them, but it doesn't seem to mean the same thing at all. -- Sea Change

  • 'First among equals'
  • They don't mess with hierarchies outside their own.
  • According to Wiki, Rome argues with them about it, stating the Roman Pope is superior to them, and they snap right back saying they're co-equal to/with him. In fact, the Coptic (I think) use of Pope as a ecclesistical title predates Roman adoption by two centuries. -- Corg

If I count correctly, that's a full five potential popes: Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem. If you add the Anglican schism, and allow for some difference from our universe, you could add Albia a Londonian popessa. Then just find another schism, maybe a Russian one (Rasputin?). And if they are anywhere like sparks (or even sparks themselves), chances are they all pretend to be the One True Pope and they fight constantly. Except when they unite for a common goal, like putting Klaus' book on the Index.
Probably thinking too much, as usual: Stereo

Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch apparently only use Patriarch in our 'verse; however, you have an excellent point that the adoption of the title could have spread to, and developed further in those other sees.
Part of the Protestant schisming dealt with the bureaucratic corruption Luther perceived; however, Henry VIII just wanted a divorce. There was just enough Divine Right hanging in there so the British crown could take on the Primacy of their church, but Pope became a dirty word in our Britain so fast after that, it makes your head spin.
A little late, Rasputin. The Eastern churches stuck with Patriarch as the highest title(s), though.
Hee, I like it. Throw in Avignon, that's more likely. If the Pentarchy all elevated their Patriarchies that extra half-step, and there was the Avignon Roman Papacy at the same time... that makes six, and easily found.
...waaaaait! There was a 'Pisan line, very short, of antipopes at the same time! We have our seventh! Woot! -- Corgi

One wonders if Albia is pre-Tudor or not. If so, then the issue never comes up. Elizabeth I comes after Henry VIII in real life, and she is the first queen regnant who held onto power on her own for any length of time. She might or might not have been necessary in order for the english to accept Albia.
Divorces, annulments, and dispensations to marry your first cousin were regularly granted by the RC pope to royalty, and one of the reasons Henry VIII did not succeed with his is because his wife's family had enough secular power to threaten both conquest and another schism in the papacy.
If the divorce was granted, this is one possible extra pope.
If the economy was different, Henry may not have needed/wanted to dissolve monasteries for the filthy lucre of it, and could have created another pope in Westminster. -- Sea Change

All this history and theory is admirably ingenious, but I'm not sure it's necessary in order to explain having seven simultaneous Popes. For that, all you need are multiple instances of people breaking through as sparks when they're already in holy orders. From everything we've seen of sparky attitudes and behaviors, a new schismatic papacy would be one of the logical outcomes.

Sparks who are in the madness place are obsessed with what they're trying to do, not the legitimacy of the means they use to do it, or its possible consequences. But with popes, legitimacy matters. Merely bad popes don't generate schisms. They arise in situations where the basic legitimacy of a pope has been called into question. Those who think he's not legitimate elect a new one, those who disagree think the other one's still pope, and voilà, you've got a schism.

Given sparks' predilection for raising the dead, building constructs, working apparent miracles, transgressing the line between free will and compulsion, and harnessing powers man wasn't meant to mess with, situations involving questionable papal legitimacy would pretty much be guaranteed to follow in their wake.

T. Nielsen Hayden, 11:50 EST, 04 June 2010

Or, we merely simplify & speak of cloning, & how one Mad Spark could run off scads of Pontiffs, for fun, for profit, as a hobby, just for giggles, or in the hopes that at least one of them will offer absolution.--Bosda Di'Chi 15:43, April 27, 2012 (UTC)
A sudden mental image--an All-Pope, singing, dancing Doo-Wop group. The Papaltones!--Bosda Di'Chi 15:14, May 4, 2012 (UTC)

Gnosticism Edit

There's an interesting discussion of Gnosticism and Girl Genius in an Agatha's Minions LiveJournal entry.

Great Honk! Edit

Jack Tarr uses the phrase "Great Honk!" as a profanity/explicative. "Honk" may or may not be a religious reference. However-in the Scrooge McDuck comics, published by Disney & drawn/written by Don Rosa & the great cartoonist Carl Barks, various citizens of Duckberg, especially old Scrooge McDuck, use the phrase as the closest thing Disney will allow for profanity. This usage is certainly a Barks tribute, as he enjoys a vast reputation among cartoonists, & the storyline in Girl Genius involve long & dangerous journeys through exotic lands, opposed by strange enemies, in a fashion strongly resembling the Scrooge McDuck story-lines.--Bosda Di'Chi (talk) 09:44, June 6, 2015 (UTC)

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