56. Pope John II 533-535

John II

Yes,I know,I drew the Pope wearing the helmet of the Roman pagan god Mercury. Blasphemy you say! Well,I have an explanation. Pope John II was born with the name Mercurius,and as the leader of Christianity and also of all things opposed to paganism,he thought it might be a bit tacky to keep his birth name. This decision set the tone for most all Popes for the next 1500 years as it became customary for newly elected Pontiffs to trade their foreign sounding names for more traditional ones. The Pope chooses his new name himself and it is usually that of a former Pope whom he personally admires. Actually it doesn’t even have to be the name of a former Pope. Our current Pope was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio and he chose the name of Francis because of the Saint’s reputation as a both a reformer and advocate for the poor. Albino Luciani combined the names of the two Popes that proceeded him,John XXIII and Paul VI,and he became John Paul I. This was a way of telling the world he intended to carry on with the work that those two men started. Not all Popes since John II took on a new name,Marcellus II in 1555 was the last to keep his birth name,but for the last 500 years the name change is a given and it all comes back to Pope Mercury……I mean John II. C’mon,don’t tell me you don’t think Pope Mercury isn’t an awesome sounding name.

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