or charter issued by a Pope
of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla
that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it.
Papal bulls were originally issued by the pope for many kinds of communication of a public nature, but after the fifteenth century, only for the most formal or solemn of occasions. Modern scholars have retroactively used the term "Bull" to describe any elaborate papal document issued in the form of a decree
(solemn or simple), and to some less elaborate ones issued in the form of a letter.
1054 Three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an invalidly-issued Papal Bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as the start of the East-West Schism.
1252 Pope Innocent IV issues the papal bull ''ad exstirpanda'', which authorizes, but also limits, the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition.
1256 The Grand Union of the Augustinian order formed when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull ''Licet ecclesiae catholicae''.
1256 The Augustinian monastic order is constituted at the Lecceto Monastery when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull ''Licet ecclesiae catholicae''.
1302 Pope Boniface VIII issues the Papal bull ''Unam sanctam'' (One Faith).
1343 Pope Clement VI issues the Bull ''Unigenitus''.
1348 Papal bull of Pope Clement VI protecting the Jews accused to have caused the Black Death.
1377 Pope Gregory XI issues five papal bulls to denounce the doctrines of English theologian John Wycliffe.
1484 Pope Innocent VIII issues the ''Summis desiderantes'', a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany and leads to one of the most oppressive witch hunts in European history.
1503 James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor are married according to a Papal Bull by Pope Alexander VI. A Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England signed on that occasion results in a peace that lasts ten years.