The 1570 bull Quo primum of Pope Pius V in a Roman Missal. Below the name of the pope Pius Episcopus (Pius Bishop) appears his title Servus servorum Dei. Not all papal documents begin in this way, but bulls do.

Servant of the servants of God (Latin: servus servorum Dei)[1] is one of the titles of the pope and is used at the beginning of papal bulls.[2]


Pope Gregory I (pope from 590 to 604) was the first pope to use this title extensively to refer to himself,[3] as a lesson in humility for the Archbishop of Constantinople John the Faster, who had been granted the title "Ecumenical Patriarch" by the Byzantine Emperor. Gregory is reported as having negatively reacted to the Patriarch's new title, claiming that "whoever calls himself universal bishop [the imprecise Latin translation of "Ecumenical Patriarch"],[citation needed] or desires this title, is, by his pride, the precursor to the Antichrist."[4]


  1. ^ Gabriel Adeleye, Kofi Acquah-Dadzie, Thomas J. Sienkewicz, World dictionary of foreign expressions: a resource for readers (1999) "Servus servorum Dei", p. 361.
  2. ^ Ian Robinson The papal reform of the eleventh century p326 - 2004 "Gregory bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the archbishops, bishops , dukes, counts and the greater and lesser men in the kingdom of the Germans, greeting and apostolic blessing."
  3. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Servus servorum Dei" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. ^ Letter of Pope Gregory I to John the Faster.