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Do you want to know why Popes change their names when elected? Do you know the story of Pope Marcellus II? As you know Popes of all ages are buried under St. Peter’s Basilica of Rome. Very close to the place where, according to the traditions, St. Peter himself is buried, there is the tomb of Pope Marcellus II and his story is related to the reason why Popes change their name when elected. Read on and we’ll tell you all about this story. If you want to know more, take one of our Tours and we’ll share this and other interesting stories of Rome.
The Sarcophagus of Pope Marcellus II
It is interesting to note how an ancient Roman sarcophagus was reused to house the remains of a pope. This is only one of the many examples of reuse in Rome. Pope Marcellus II, who was elected Pope in the mid-16th century, has a peculiarity. He was Pope only for 22 days! Not only it was one of the shortest papacies ever, but Marcellus was known for very restrictive policies which he applied to the Vatican. His austerity policies were not well received. The evil say this approach may have contributed to the shortness of his papacy…. But there is also another curiosity related to Marcellus II….
Why do Popes change their names once elected?
Since the Middle Ages, all the Popes chose their name by changing their birth names. Since John XII, who changed his name Octavian, all the men elected as Pope changed their first name. It seems that a curse was looming, and that anyone who would have kept their first name, even if invested with papal power, would have died within a year. Well, after John XII (955 – 963), the only Pope who went against this tradition was Marcello, who kept his birth name. And we know what happened!! Only 22 days!
If you want to know more of Rome’s legends and traditions, take one of out Tours and ask us! We’d be glad to share this and other stories with you! Come to Rome and #feeltheessence.