(ABC NEWS) When the white smoke curls out the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the new pope will be asked to make his first decision — choosing a name.

The man who is elected pontiff, likely to be one of the 115 cardinal electors, will have two millennia of history to contemplate before he chooses a moniker.

The tradition of taking a papal name dates back to 533 when Pope John II became the first to adopt a new name. He felt his birth name, Mercurius, was inappropriate since it was also the name of a pagan God.

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