Going by the List of Popes at Catholic Encyclopedia one finds that the name John has been most popular among the incumbents to the position. But what is intriguing is that no Pope after the first one adopted the name Peter which in fact, had been given to Simon by the Lord himself. Is there any reason for the same?

  • The church/papacy also went a thousand years without anyone picking Francis until the current pope. It's a matter of personal preference by the new pope. Jan 3 at 17:15
  • It might also be an inconvenient name as it would raise controversy over whether he should be called "Peter I" or "Peter II". Jan 3 at 23:11
  • Simple, DJClayworth, predecessor of Pope John Paul II was simply Pope John Paul. Jan 5 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Why has the name of Peter not been adopted by any other Pope after St. Peter?

There is no rule in the Church forbidding it. A future pope could take the name of Peter.

In the Prophecy of the Popes attributed to St. Malachy, the last pope will be called Peter the Roman.

Since it is not forbidden for a pope to chose the name of Peter, it has been postulated that popes do not chose the name of Peter out of respect for the Prince of the Apostles St. Peter who was the first pope. Those are big shoes to step into and popes know it.

The immediate successor St. Linus is the only pope to carry the name of Linus. Several popes are in this same situation as not having a pope with a same name. There is only one Pope peter, Pope Linus, Pope Hyginus, Pope Zephyrinus, Pope Dionysius and several others!

Pope John II (532-535) was the first pope to change his name, it was due to the fact that his given name Mercury was that of a pagan Roman god and thus he was trying to avoid a scandal.

The pope Pelagius I (556-561) and Pope Pelagius II (579-590), on the other hand, both kept their given names which did not seem to either Pontiff to be a source of scandal considering the fact that the Church had just went through the Pelagian Heresy a century before! This heresy is named after its original heretic Pelagius (c.360-418).

The last pope to use his baptismal name as pope was Pope Marcellus II in 1555.

Personally, if any pope were to chose the papal name of Peter, it would have a foreboding fear that the end of the world would be at hand. Just how to interpret St. Malachy’s prophecies about the popes.

The last pope according to St. Malachy will be Peter the Roman:

Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.

The following articles may be of interest to some:


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .