Historically, many Rome-born men, as well as others born elsewhere on the Italian Peninsula have served as Bishops of Rome. Since 1900, however, there has been only one Rome-born Bishop of Rome, Pius XII (1939–1958). In addition, non-Italians have served as Bishops of Rome since John Paul II was elected Pope in 1978. In earlier centuries, in any case, many non-Romans and non-Italians have been Pope.
Due to its significance as central point of reference within the Catholic Church, it is sometimes referred to as The Holy Roman Church, as is the case for instance with Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and other such diocese-related titles and terms. This naming tradition is part of a wider context of nomenclature, of which notably also external habits have been derived, such as the adjective Roman Catholic, occurring since the Protestant Reformation.
The best-known title, that of "Pope", does not appear in the official list, but is commonly used in the titles of documents, and appears, in abbreviated form, in the signatures of the Popes.
The best evidence available for the origins of the Church in Rome is Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans. This indicates that the church was established probably by the early 40s CE. Saint Peter became associated with this church sometime between the year 58 and the early 60s.