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

Kansas City Jewish Community Center shooter: “I was an FBI Informant”
2014 04 24
Kansas City Jewish Community Center shooter: “I was an FBI Informant” …… Which is EXACTLY how we called it when this story broke a few weeks back. We also mentioned that the SPLC, just discarded from the FBI “hate” website… Would be the prime benefactor. Ex-KKK Leader Was Given a New Identity Years Before Shooting Glenn Miller Claims He Was an FBI Informant by ...
Meet AISight – The Artificial Intelligence Software Being Installed on CCTV Networks Globally
2014 04 24
If you thought that CCTV cameras tracking your every move in public was bad enough, you’re going to just love AISight (pronounced “eyesight” of course). The invention of a Houston, Texas based company called BRS Labs (which stands for Behavioral Recognition Systems) is headed by former secret service special agent John Frazzini, and this Orwellian surveillance platform brings artificial intelligence ...
Biofuel Made From Corn Waste Less ‘Green’ Than Gasoline
2014 04 24
Biofuel created from corn waste may not be the clean, eco-friendly oil alternative the United States government is hoping for. A new study has found that fuel generated from harvested corn leftovers creates more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline — at least in the short term. The fuel under study, called cellulosic ethanol, has been touted in recent years as a ...
Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
2014 04 24
Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. "This was a very special occasion, especially considering the importance of Saint Erik religiously in Sweden," Uppsala Cathedral Chaplain Lars Åstrand told The Local. The casket contained the bones of King ...
John Kerry and the Pope set to face off with Jewish Knight Templars on the Temple Mount
2014 04 24
This is the week that supposedly spells the end of the peace process or its end. My money is on a continuation that has no real substance or direction. What’s the alternative? With Passover and Easter over, Secretary Kerry can return to the Middle East crisis. This, after dealing so successfully with crisis in the Ukraine. [Is the author joking? - RIC] With ...
More News »