A Brief History
On March 10, 483, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Simplicius, died after a 15 year reign on “the Throne of St. Peter.” While we do not know a lot about Simplicius, we do know he succeeded Pope Hilarius as the Bishop of Rome.
With the seeming adjective birth names of these 2 Popes, we find future Popes, starting in the 6th Century, beginning to take a new name to serve under when elected. By the 10th Century, virtually all new Popes chose a new name. Since 1555, every new Pope has chosen a new name.
Some of the names that may strike us as unusual today include: Hyginus (r. 136-140), Hippolytus (r. 217-235), Dionysius (r. 259-268), Marinus I (r. 882-884), and Servant of God Pius VII (r. 1800-1823).
Then, there was the first Pope ever to have 2 names, John Paul I, who reigned only 33 days and was followed by the second 2-named Pope, John Paul II (r. 1978-2005).
Question for students (and subscribers): Who is your favorite Pope? What is your favorite Pope name? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Chamberlain, ER. The Bad Popes (The Mad, Bad and Ugly of Italian History). Sapere Books, 2020.
Phillips, Charles. The Illustrated History of the Popes: An Authoritative Guide to the Lives and Works of the Popes of the Catholic Church. Lorenz Books, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a round portrait of Pope Simplicius, is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1928.
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