The religious head of the Catholic Church is known as the pope or the bishop of Rome. He is elected by the College of Cardinals, who as a group ranks next to the pope in ecclesiastical authority. New popes are elected on the death or retirement of a current pope. To be elected, a new pope must be named on two-thirds of the ballots cast, and each member of the College of Cardinals must vote. Once elected, a pope must be asked by the dean of cardinals if he accepts the post. If he does, he is then asked to choose a name
Origin of the pope
The word ‘pope’ does not come from the bible but from the Greek word ‘pappas’, which is a child’s word for father and the Latin word ‘papa’(from the Greek) meaning ‘father’. In the early countries of Christianity, particularly in the east, it was a title of affectionate respect for all bishops and another senior clergy.
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The earliest use of this term or title, however, did not come from Rome but from the church in Alexandria in Egypt. Alexandria, which earlier was also A center of Jewish learning, for many years, competed with Rome and some other cities for the leadership of the church. The title was first used after his death to describe the patriarch of Alexandria, pope Heracles. He presided over the church in Alexandria from the year 232 until his death in 248.
However, at the Council of Serdica (today’s Sofia, Bulgaria) A.D. 343, the title was reserved by the other bishops of the church for the bishop of Rome. By the time, St. Julius I was the 35th bishop of Rome and by this council’s resolution, he became the 35th pope of the church.
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Apostles were martyred there under Nero. By the mid-second century memorial shrines to Paul and Peter had been erected in Rome, on the Appian way and the Vatican hill respectively Remains of the later have been uncovered in modern excavations.