Papal Books

The Next Pope

After Pope Benedict XVI

by Anura Guruge

Now at Revision 1 as of August 19, 2010

To order from Amazon please click <here>

Brief description:
The definitive, no stones left unturned handbook for the next papal election following the reign of the current pope, Benedict XVI. By the author of ‘Popes and the Tale of Their Names’ and the publisher of the ‘‘ web site. This is a book for anybody that is interested in the popes, papacy, conclaves and Catholicism. This large book is full of insights, analysis, opinions, statistics and trivia. The author’s prior book was applauded for its unique look at papal history through the prism of papal names. This book, six times the size, covers potential papabili, papal eligibility, conclaves, papal elections, College of Cardinals and papal names with a similar passion and intensity. A must read for anybody even vaguely interested about popes.

Home Page for “The Next Pope”

To read the reviews at Amazon please click <here>


Popes and the Tale of Their Names

by Anura Guruge

160 pages, published (in English) by AuthorHouse
in July 2008

  • ISBN-10: 1434384403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434384409

To order from Amazon please click this.

Brief description:

This book looks at popes and the papacy through the prism of the names associated with the popes — whether they be birth, priestly, or assumed names. It is the first in-depth exploration of papal names and their meanings with a revised history of papal name changes, a complete account of the rationales for the 125 known instances of assumed names, and a slew of new ‘factoids.’


catholicnewsagencyj» Excerpts from the “Catholic News Agency”
review by Brother Benet S. Exton
in November 2008

“People who love anything about the papacy and the popes will love this thin book. It is filled with mind-boggling information, especially when many numbers and mathematics come into play.”

“Another interesting point that Guruge discusses is why popes have not taken the name, “Peter” and why they change their names. He suggests that the name is too revered since it is the name directly given by Jesus to Simon.”

“This book is highly recommended to those interested in anything connected with the popes or the papacy. It has a lot of trivia, photos and interesting information that the reader will find fascinating.”

amazon-button» Excerpts from reviews on

“This book is an outstanding work that is interesting, insightful, and highly accurate. I am a certified religion teacher with a special interest in papal history and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this unique study on papal names. I have read countless books and articles about the popes over the last three decades and found this book to be a much needed contribution to Church history. I always read papal history with an eye for accuracy and appropriate analysis, and I can genuinely say that I found no errors in this book and was extremely impressed with its respectful treatment, objectivity, and command of the facts and their significance. The author’s talent of analyzing, organizing, and interpreting two thousand years of Church history is nothing short of remarkable. This book is a must read for all students of Church history who will no doubt benefit from its outstanding research and presentation.” ***** (5 star)

Byron Hoover
[real name, verified by Amazon] — comment left August 26, 2008

Concise yet detailed and readable
“With the organization and detail of an engineer coupled with the communicative skills of a professional writer, Mr. Guruge has provided us with a concise yet detailed and readable history of Pope’s names. Why have Popes chosen the names they chose and what is the significance of changing names in the first place? Where did the name-change practice begin and why? These and other questions are give thorough treatment in this specialized history of a topic mentioned only as a sidebar in other papal histories. Testament to Mr. Guruge’s logical organization are the three tabular Appendixes that provide a handy quick reference to the Popes which you will find helpful while reading the chapters and as a quick reference in the future. Thorough research and clarity are the marks of this handy little guide. It is a view of papal history I will refer to again and again in my own studies. Very well done.” **** (4 star)

Stratiotes Doxha Theon — comment left December 4, 2008

Excellente analysis of an ancient tradition
“This a truly remarkable book! It’s incredible how an issue that one thinks can be presented in a couple of pages, is completely developed in a professional way by the author.

This book, due to well crafted analysis, gives the reader a whole new perspective of the names of the popes. Anecdotes and careful research makes this a must on this interesting tradition of the Catholic Church. Congratulations!” ***** (5 star)

Roberto Ardon from Guatemala
[real name, verified by Amazon] — comment left February 28, 2009

More About the Book:
I started studying papal history, in earnest, a few years ago. It didn’t take long before I was getting confounded (more than usual) by a lack of specificity when it came to papal names. Though there is an Everest of work on the popes, much of it the result of meticulous research, I kept on drawing blanks when I wanted to dig into matters related to papal names.

I was struck that the sixth ‘pope’ to succeed St. Peter was named Sixtus I — given that ‘sixtus,’ in Latin, denotes sixth. I was surprised that St. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon (c. 178), one of the early writers on Christianity, when enumerating the Bishops of Rome that followed the Apostles wrote, without expressing any surprise that: “… then, sixth from the Apostles, Sixtus was appointed; …” [In Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) Vol III, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.]

The sixth after St. Peter being named ‘Sixtus’ seemed rather propitious.

Then there was St. Anacletus, the second ‘pope’ after St. Peter, who was listed in the martyrs celebrated at Mass as just ‘Cletus.’ That appeared to have been quite a slip, particularly given that ‘Anacletus’ is a Greek word for ‘blameless’ — an attribute that St. Paul had said was a prerequisite for a bishop in <Titus 1:7>. Yes, it was true that freed slaves were often called ‘Anacletus,’ because of the blameless aspect, but that alone would not explain why this early ‘pope’ was referred to by two names — especially when this resulted in people thinking that there has been two separate ‘popes,’ one Greek, one Roman, one called ‘Cletus’ and the other ‘Anacletus.’ Being an ex-slave was not an impediment to becoming a pope. St. Callistus I (sometimes Callixtus I), best known now for the Roman catacombs named after him, was well known as a slave.

Then there was St. Zephyrinus. He became ‘pope’ at a time when there was growing tension between Rome and the churches in the East — to do with when Easter should be celebrated. ‘Zephyrinus’ is Greek for the West Wind. So a ‘pope’ that is elected at a time when the West is trying to impose its wishes on the East just happened to have a name that connotes changes from the West.

My curiosity, akin to that that killed the cat, was aroused.

I had to start looking into papal names, their meaning and the history of papal name changes.

The outcome of that research is this book “The Popes and the Tale of Their Names.”

ERRORS in the book. Please refer to this listing. Anura

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A Web site by papal historian Anura Guruge on Papal Elections

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