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

Ingraham to Zuckerberg: Time for Open Borders at Your Mansion
2014 09 19
Talk radio host Laura Ingraham re-iterated her challenge to debate Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and criticized him for securing his property while demanding the US allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country on Monday. “In the end, borders work for these guys. Right, I would not want to be on [Facebook board member] Marc Andreesen’s household staff if ...
MasterCard tests Orwellian national ID card on Nigeria
2014 09 19
The march toward enslaving the world’s population by a handful of globalist statists and corporations continues, with the latest chapter unfolding, of all places, in Nigeria, compliments of MasterCard. According to the website GovtSlaves.info, the credit card giant is rolling out a card in Africa’s most populous country that has the ability to retain all personal, health insurance, tax payment and ...
Doctor: Gov’t ‘Tight-Lipped’ on Respiratory Virus, May Be From Illegals
2014 09 19
Dr. Jane Orient, Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, reported that the government has been “real tight-lipped” about the mysterious respiratory illness that has struck children in the United States, expressed concern that the illegal immigrant minors from Central America could be the source, and argued that the government should devote more resources to border security ...
Breaking—CDC whistleblower: “I’ve stopped lying”
2014 09 18
Explosive…explosive…explosive… What more could anyone want in the way of evidence for an ongoing crime? There is a video posted at the autism media channel/YouTube, and at Age of Autism: “William Thompson’s call to Congress.” It is a recording of a telephone call between CDC whistleblower Thompson and Brian Hooker, PhD. No date is given. Presumably, the call was recorded before August 27, when ...
Ebola patients buying survivors’ blood from black market, WHO warns
2014 09 18
As hospitals in nations hardest hit by Ebola struggle to keep up, desperate patients are turning to the black market to buy blood from survivors of the virus, the World Health Organization warned. The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has killed at least 2,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the countries most affected by the virus. Thousands more are ...
More News »