Who was Pope Joan?

Today Teatru Malta discuss the existence of  Pope Joan  who was, according to popular legend, a woman who reigned as pope for a few years during the Middle Ages.  Joan’s story first appeared in chronicles in the 13th century and subsequently spread throughout Europe. The story was widely believed for centuries, but most modern scholars regard it as fictional. The legend was generally accepted as true until the 16th century,  when a widespread debate among Catholic and Protestant writers called the story into question; various writers noted the implausibly long gap between Joan’s supposed lifetime and her first appearance in texts, ultimately demonstrating the impossibility of the Pope Joan story from beginning to end.

Days like ”Women’s’ Day’‘ only take women back to the times when Joan had to disguise herself as a man to acquire the education that she was so unfairly deprived of as a young girl; times when women were looked down upon and punished for striving to be more than they were allowed to be. Days like today treat women like a minority, or rather enough of a minority to make the masses think that a post on women’s day is enough to actually encompass all the good women do or all that they have achieved. There’s more to women than just a day.

Pope Joan, was alleged to be the only living female to have ever become pope, now her truth ceases to exist. History has shrouded this woman’s life from being a distinguishable truth, and instead of being given a chapter in a history book this life has been reduced to nothing more than a fictional existence now widely accepted to be a legend remaining mostly influential in art, literature, drama, and film. This July, Teatru Malta in partnership with Festivals Malta, the Restoration Directorate Rehabilitation Projects (RPO) and the Goethe Institute will be celebrating this woman’s life and telling her story as part of the Malta International Arts Festival. Pope Joan by Donna W. Cross will be staged at the Mdina Ditch, directed by Irene Christ and will proudly star Maria Buckle as Joan. Full cast including the likes of Antonella Axisa, Chris Galea, Mikhail Basmadjian, Stephen Mintoff and Joseph Depasquale can be found here .