Madrid – The leader of a secretive Spanish sect who said he was the true pope and that the Vatican was controlled by the devil has died, a town hall official said on Tuesday.
Gregorio XVII, 58, was the leader of a self-styled church whose followers believed he would be crucified before a kind of apocalypse would take place.
Gregorio believed God crowned him after Pope Paul VI’s death in 1978 and he rejected changes made to the Catholic church in the 1960s such as saying mass in local languages rather than Latin and dialogue with other branches of Christianity.
Information packages handed out at the vast cathedral-like complex show pictures of Gregorio, who lost his eyes in a car crash, with bleeding hands, forehead and torso similar to the wounds of Christ on the cross.
The sect, based in the southern Spanish town of El Palmar de Troya but with members from as far away as the United States, conferred sainthood on former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. [Source]