As soon as he became Pope he allegedly exclaimed: "As God has given us the papacy, let’s enjoy it." Cue a host of extravagant gestures from the sublime to the ridiculous.
During his reign he showered riches upon the poor — while at the same time parading around town in a carnival featuring jesters, exotic animals, dancers and his famous pet elephant.
It was almost like the glory days of pagan Rome all over again. There was time and infinite money for Art, Literature, re-building St Peters and a host of feasts and entertainments.
This might all sound rather lovely and fun, but many of his contemporaries frowned upon it. Religion was supposed to be all grim and serious, they thought.. and so they grimly and seriously plotted to kill him — until they were all arrested by Papal Police wearing funny noses and juggling rosary beads.
Well, possibly. But all this jollity led to a most serious historical event: Martin Luther frowned deeply and publicly proclaimed the entire Papacy to be corrupt and frivolous.
In Holy Retaliation, Pope LEO-X gave the finger to Martin Luther and excommunicated him. Whereupon Martin Luther decided to excommunicate the entire Catholic Church and set up a rival denomination.
Thus began the Reformation which split the Christian Church — and the entire western world — in two. Needless to say, Martin Luther did not end up a Saint.
Surprisingly for a Pope so heavily into lavish feasts and celebrations, LEO-X does not appear to have a feast day himself. So we’ve donated the little-used date of February 31.