As we look forward to the coming conclave, it's natural to ask, "How long will it last?"
Nobody knows at this point, but it's possible to get a sense by looking at history.
Here are some surprising things you may not have known.
Birth of the Conclave
In the history of the papacy there have been periods in which the chair of St. Peter was vacant for startlingly long periods of time, at least by modern standards.
The longest of these occurred after the death of Pope Clement IV in 1268.
After he died on November 29th of that year, there was no new pope until September 1 of 1271, when Gregory X became pope.
That's a gap of almost three years (and just over 1,000 days)....READ MORE