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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Great Pope Names

I know you've been wondering where my friend Joe has been, well, he's back with some interesting information on popes and their names. Joe has included more than a few obscure asides as well:

Since we now have a Pope Benedict, I thought I'd take a look at some other Pope names. After all, since I used to think all popes were named Pius, this is new to me.

Did you know that the second pope, chosen by Peter, was Pope Linus? No word on if he carried a security blanet.

Did you know that the third pope was named Pope Cletus? No word on if he was a slack-jawed yokel.

A very early pope was named Pope Zephyrinus. Which is interesting because that was the alternate name of the hit 1960s song by the Association called "Windy."

The name Pope Felix was chosen by at least six early popes, including one of the notorious anti-popes. But there's never been a Pope Oscar.

I don't know WHAT to do with a pope named Hormisdus.

Shortly after Hormisdus, there was a pope named Formosus. I got nothing on him except to note that late in his reign, Pope Formosus changed his name to Pope Taiwanus.

There was a pope named Damascus. I can't find one named Baghdad or Tel Aviv.

There were several popes named Urban. None named Rural, however.

Right after Pope Urban I, there was Pope Pontian. Unfortunately, the pope after him was NOT named Pope Gallerius. (This is a very obscure New York joke in Italy. Work it, it's worth it...)

There was a very early pope named Hyginus. His saint day is January 11. There is no pope named Bacterius.

There was an early pope named Fabianus. I found no record of an Elvisus or Dionus. Weirdly, however, there was one anti-pope named Leslie Gore.

There was a pope in the 4th Century named Sylvester. But no pope named Foghorn Leghorn.

There was a pope named Zosimus. Make up your own joke if you can.

There was a pope named Theodore. No popes named Alvin.

Yes, there was a Pope Vitalian. We await our first Pope Brylcremian.

Much to my surprise, there have be 13 popes named Leo, including Leo XIII, who ruled until 1903. Only his family called him Uncle Leo.

And, in conclusion, I give you this: the last Benedict, Benedict XV, was on the papal throne from 1914 to 1922. His family name was Giacomo della Chiesa. There is no truth to the rumor that Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, is also known as Giacomo della Giungla. (You gotta work this one a bit...)

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