Pontifical history

When did the popes start using these fake names? Peter, Linus, and Cletus I know where real names. Now Francis I humbly refer to as Mario has of course taken the name Francis. I just wonder if there are any papal scholars out there that know why the Pontificate uses this fake name system. :shrug:

It’s not necessarily a “fake” naming system, billcu1. The Lord Jesus changed Simon-bar-Jona’s name to Peter, after all. God Himself in human flesh changed the name of a man, as He had done before in the old times (Jacob/Israel, Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah). It was always done to indicate the importance of an event or events in salvation history. Simon/Peter stood in a very ancient tradition…

We know for sure that a Pope changed his name for the first time in 533 AD, with John II. Almost all the popes before him had Greek names, although it’s unlikely that they were all Greek in culture. Who knows if they changed their names without making much of a fuss about it? Worldwide Christianity was still very Greek up until the mid-8th century. Only after the beginning of a cultural split between East and West did the Roman popes start emphasizing their Latin culture by choosing different names.

As far as I can tell, Popes choose new names based on their favourite saints. There have been 17 Gregories so far. There have been 16 Benedicts. Gregory comes from St. Gregory the Great. Benedict comes from St. Benedict of Nursia. Why? I think it’s probably a mixture of imitation of Simon Peter, as well as the tradition of getting a new name when one becomes a Religious Brother or Religious Sister. It’s mystical and mysterious, and it signals a “new start” for the man elected Pope.

None of the names you mention are “fake”, anyway. Innocentius I, for example, was just a Roman citizen called Innocentius - a common name in the 4th century. He became a saint, and thereafter, other Popes used his name to honour it.

your question is a very good one. but there is a note of incredulity in your language. I believe that you have some deeper underlying issues to resolve first about the Catholic faith. without first resolving them, any attempt to address your original question might be futile and fruitless.

One Pope was named Mercury after the pagan god. He didn’t want to use that pagan name as Pope so he chose to take on a new name.

Peter by the way was not a real name. Remember he was actually Simon, Our Lord gave him the new name as a new identity, a new life, a new calling – something we see frequently in the Bible: Abraham was Abram, for example. Popes have since taken on the same symbolism, a new regal name as they take on their new and final role. Monks and nuns used to do the same.

It’s not uncommon for European Monarchs to carry a new name. King George VI’s name was originally Albert. They suspect Prince Charles might also not use his name Charles as King because the previous King Charles I was deposed when Cromwell took over.

In the Catholic faith taking a NEW name, not a “fake” one, is a sign of either new life or a new special calling in life. At baptism we are given a name as we are now a new creation in Christ. At confirmation we take another name (without losing the first one) as a sign that we have now been anointed, set apart, to share in the ministry of Christ as King, Priest and Prophet. Religious men and women, when they profess their vows and are consecrated to God, take a new name as a sign of their new consecrated life- the old self is Gone, they now belong fully to Christ. The Bishop of Rome does the same thing to symbolize that he is no longer just an individual, but is taking up a mantle greater than himself. It isn’t unique to the papacy. You find it throughout Catholicism. Some of the Eastern Patriarchs adopt a new name as well. The Maronite and Syriac Catholic Patriarchs, I believe, all add Ignatius to their name in honor of the first Patriarch of Antioch, after St Peter himself, St Ignatius, whose mandate they now exercise.

Because they want to? Monarchs can usually take new names. And while the Pope is not a monarch, certainly many monarchical traditions are associated with the papacy. I don’t see the problem.

The SCC follows that custom, as does the SOC. The current SCC Patriarch is Moran Mor Ignatios Yowsef III Younan. The newly-elected SOC Patriarch is Moran Mor Ignatios Afrem II (he doesn’t use his surname, although his predecessor and others have).

The Maronites, however, do not follow the “Ignatios” custom, and never have. Beginning in the late 19th Century, Maronite Patriarchs have taken the name “Peter” (without a number) as a middle name. This custom started with the election of Moran Mor Elias Peter Hoayek in 1898 and continues. For example, the current Patriarch is Bechara Peter Rai, and his retired predecessor was known Nasrallah Peter Sfeir. Until that time, however, Patriarchs did not. The Patriarch before Hoayek was Moran Mor Youhanna (John) XII El-Hage.

I believe the Armenian Catholicoi of Cilicia also use “Peter” (with a number) as a middle name, at least so since the 18th Century. For example we have the famous Krekor Bedros XV (Gregory Peter XV) Agagianian and the current Catholicos, Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni.

I like this answer.

Really I was not aware of that. Of course after Prince Albert Victoria’s husband. The current Queen may have received her name from her mother Queen Elizabeth George VI’s wife or Elizabeth from early history. I just wonder where Prince George got his name from George VI or Prince William’s wife the Duchess of Cambridge’s side of the family.

I wasn’t saying it was a problem I was just curious as to why it’s done. I have heard that in conclave when the new pope accepts his election he is robed and asked for a name. When I was confirmed and baptized both I was asked what name I wanted to use. I was not that familiar with the saints so I used my own.

I’m not sure I understand.

AFAIK, she was named after her mother. She was the first-born child of George VI, and baptized “Elizabeth.” Who was to know if he would subsequently sire a male heir? As it happened, he did not, so she became Queen Elizabeth II upon her ascension to the throne.

This is basically what it is classified as today.

I’m wondering if the OP is an American, and therefore unfamiliar with a monarchy, but in places where we still have them (such as the Commonwealth, a Constitutional Monarchy) we call them a Regnal name.

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