Pope Benedict XVI is now the seventh oldest Pope since reliable records began being collected in the year 1400, according to an American statistician.
Anura Guruge, an IBM information systems expert, IT adviser and obvious fan of papal history, presented a table offering a ranked list of the oldest known Popes on his site www.popes-and-papacy.com on Monday.
The Catholic News Agency reports that Benedict XVI has passed into the seventh slot on his list, just behind John Paul II, who died at 84 years old.
Not all Popes in history are considered in the study, explains Guruge on the site, because dates logged in records before the year 1400 "are either unreliable or unavailable and as such are impractical for meaningful analysis".
According to his information, should he remain at the helm until 2015, Pope Benedict will overtake Clement XII, currently in second place after living to 87. Topping the list of oldest Popes in the last six centuries is Leo XIII, who died at 93 years old in 1903.
Benedict XVI among the top ten oldest Popes since 1400 (Catholic News Agency)