What’s in a papal moniker
2013 03 17

From: thehindu.com



When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name Francis on being elected the 267th Pope of the Catholic Church on Wednesday, the Jesuit from Buenos Aires was only following a papal tradition that began in AD 533 with Mercurius who chose the name John II.

Mercurius changed his name as he felt that his baptismal name was that of a Roman god and it would not augur well for a pope to be known by that name. Since then, all popes except Adrian 1V (1522 to 1523) and Marcellus 11 (1555) have changed their baptismal names and took the names of their predecessors, mentors or saints during their pontificate.

It’s decision tied up in history and tradition, and it has more than a little symbolic value. In papal tradition, newly elected pontiffs choose a name to identify themselves during their reigns. A papal moniker offers an early indicator of what his papacy might be like and it will reflect his own personal spirituality.

That Pope Francis has chosen a new name may signal that he wants to lead the church into a new chapter. Many see it as a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint who lived in poverty and heard a voice to “rebuild the Church.” Pope Francis being a Jesuit, the name could also be a reference to Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuits in the 16th century.

John was the most common name used by popes over the years. As many as 23 popes have taken the name. The names Gregory and Benedict have been chosen by 16 popes each. Fourteen popes have chosen the name Clement, Leo (13), Innocent (12), Pius (12), Stephen (9), Urban (8), Alexander (7), Adrian (6), Paul (6), and Martin (5), Nicholas (5) and Celestine (5). Four popes each have been known by the names Anastasius, Eugene, Sergius, and Honoriu.

The last pope to inaugurate a name was John Paul I, in 1978, who did so in honour of his two immediate predecessors, John XXIII and Paul V1.

He died 33 days later to be succeeded by John Paul II, a name taken in his honour by the Pole Karol Wojtyla.

Saint Peter the Apostle was the first pope and no pope after him had chosen the name Peter. They include even popes John X1V and Sergius 1V who had their baptismal names as Peter.

Telesphorus, Eleutherius, Zephyrinus, Eutychian, Miltiades, Hormisdas, Zosimus, Symmachus, Simplicius, and Vigilius are some most unique papal names.

Interestingly, it was the first pope Peter who remains the longest serving pope. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, he reigned for 35 years (Ad 32 to 67). But after that, it was Pope Pius IX (1846 to 1878) who was the longest serving pope, 31 years and seven months. Pope John Paul 11, who passed away in 2005, was the third longest serving pope: 26 years and 5 months.

Source: thehindu.com



Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills. I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
More News »