A pontiff was, in Roman antiquity, a member of the most illustrious of the colleges of priests of the Roman religion, the College of Pontiffs. The term "pontiff" was applied to any high or chief priest and, in Roman Catholic ecclesiastical usage, to a bishop and more to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope or "Roman Pontiff"; the English term derives through Old French pontif from Latin pontifex, a word held to come from the Latin root words pons + facere, so to have the literal meaning of "bridge-builder" between mankind and the deity/deities. The role of bridges in ancient religions, associated with resurrection and the Judgement Day is well known. Uncertainty prevailing, this may be only a folk etymology, but it may recall ancient tasks and magic rites associated with bridges. There were four chief colleges of priests in ancient Rome, the most illustrious of, that of the pontifices; the others were those of the augures, the quindecimviri sacris faciundis, the epulones. The same person could be a member of more than one of these groups.

Including the pontifex maximus, president of the college, there were three or five pontifices, but the number increased over the centuries becoming 16 under Julius Caesar. By the third century B. C. the pontiffs had assumed control of the state religious system. The word "pontiff", though now most used in relation to a Pope, technically refers to any bishop; the phrase "Roman Pontiff" is not tautological, but means "Bishop of Rome", as "Alexandrian Pontiff" means Bishop of Alexandria. In the same way, the adjective "pontifical" does not refer to the Pope: a Pontifical Mass is a Mass celebrated by a bishop, not by a pope. From the adjective have been formed the nouns "the Pontifical" and "pontificals". Furtheron, while the pontificals belong to bishops, they have been granted by Papal favour or established Church custom to certain presbyters, so an abbot who confers the Sacrament of Confirmation as extraordinary distributor, celebrating a Pontifical Mass at the occasion, might be referred to as "the pontiff" in this respect.

Inspiration for the Christian use of the name "pontiff" for a bishop could be found in the use of the same word for the Jewish High Priest in the Vulgate Latin translation of the Scriptures, where it appears 59 times. For example, in the Vulgate Mark 15:11, "pontifices" is the Latin term used for "The Chief Priests", in the Letter to the Hebrews "pontifex" is used with reference to the Jewish High Priest and analogously to Jesus as the High Priest of Christians; the word has been employed in English for caliphs and swamis and jagadgurus. Pontifex Maximus College of Pontiffs


Lio is a Luso-Belgian singer and actress, a pop icon in France and Belgium during the 1980s. Vanda Maria Ribeiro Furtado Tavares de Vasconcelos was born in Portugal; when her father was called up to fight in the Portuguese Army, the family moved to Mozambique. Her parents divorced and, in 1968, Vanda moved with her mother and new stepfather to Brussels, where her sister, actress Helena Noguerra, was born. In her teens she was determined to become a singer, she was encouraged by singer-songwriter Jacques Duvall, a family friend, she took her stage name, from a character in the Barbarella comic books by Jean-Claude Forest. In 1979, together with songwriter Jay Alanski and Duvall began working with Marc Moulin and Dan Lacksman from the electro-trio Telex. "Le Banana Split", which sold over 1 million copies, "Amoureux solitaires", a song by punk rock band Stinky Toys. Both songs rose to the top of many pop charts in France, Moulin and Lacksman produced her self-titled first album. In 1982 the American music duo Ron and Russell Mael, of Sparks, worked with her on the album Suite sixtine, on which some of her previous songs were translated into English.

Suite sixtine was compiled and art directed by Ralph Alfonso for Attic Records Canada, where it was released. Her second album, Amour toujours, was produced by Alain Chamfort and released in 1983; the same year, she first appeared on the screen in Chantal Akerman's film Golden Eighties, a lighthearted, humorous French pop musical about the people who work together in a Parisian shopping center. Lio plays a carefree hairdresser in the movie. In 1985, she met producer Michel Esteban, of ZE Records, she continued to have hit singles in Europe, including "Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes", travelled to Los Angeles with Esteban to record her next album Pop model. Several of the tracks were co-produced by John Cale of the Velvet Underground, the album produced the hits "Fallait pas commencer", "Je casse tout ce que je touche", "Chauffeur". In 1988, after she had given birth to a daughter with Esteban, she resumed her acting career, starring in Claude Lelouch's film Itinéraire d'un enfant gâté.

The Lio-Esteban partnership produced another album, Can can, recorded in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. She designed a fashion collection for the European department store chain Prisunic, she appeared in three films in 1990 and 1991, Chambre à part, Sans un cri, Après l'amour. Her 1991 album, Des fleurs pour un caméléon, was produced by Étienne Daho, she had contributed vocals for one of Daho's earliest and biggest hits, "Week-End À Rome". Daho was given carte blanche in the studio, her next album, presenting a more mature approach in contrast with her previous image, with a sleeve designed by Guy Peellaert, was released in 1995. However, it was unsuccessful, she withdrew for a time to live near Angoulême with her partner and children. In 1998, she recorded with Esteban in Cuba, in 1999 she appeared in 50 performances of the French adaptation of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, a musical staged at the Folies Bergère, she had two kids that year. She released the single "Je suis comme je suis" and the album Chante Prévert containing interpretations of the poems of Jacques Prévert, in 2000.

After performing the songs on tour throughout France and North Africa, she released the live album Cœur de rubis in 2004. She appeared in over 250 performances of the theater play Le Bébé, an adaptation of a book by Marie Darrieussecq staged by Marc Goldberg. Since 2008, Lio has been a judge on the French "pop idol" show Nouvelle Star. In 2009, she returned to music with the rock band Phantom. In 2011, she became a judge on The Voice Belgique; as of 2012, several of Lio's songs have been rediscovered and used as samples in numerous songs by artists in the Nu-disco, House and EDM genres. In 2014, she gave an acoustic rendition of several songs by the Brazilian composer Dorival Caymmi at the Archiduc café in central Brussels. In March 2018, she released her new album Lio Canta Caymmi on the label Crammed Discs, it consists of half-Portuguese, half-French covers of songs by the Brazilian composer Dorival Caymmi. It was the first time she recorded an entire album in her mother tongue, she had released a cover of the Brazilian standard "The Girl from Ipanema" in 1991 but she sang the English lyrics.

2004: Le Bébé by Marie Darrieussecq, directed by Marc Goldberg Lio. Pop model. J'ai lu. ISBN 2-290-34721-3. Lio's Biography on ZE Records Official Website Lio on IMDb

Astley Hall (Stourport-on-Severn)

Astley Hall is a country house in Astley near Stourport-on-Severn, England. The hall was the home of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin from 1902 to his death there in 1947, it is now a nursing home. Astley Hall is a small, three-storey country house set in 20 acres of parkland, two miles outside Stourport-on-Severn; the house consists of a main block, linked to an L-shaped stable wing. In addition, the estate features formal garden and kitchen garden; the present buildings date from mid-19th century with early 20th century additions. To the right of the main house is a stone Tudor arched garden entrance, to the left of the main house is a later cross-gabled extension with clock and brick stable range with stone dressings; the main house is an ashlar construction with slate roof. On the roof there are grouped chimneys with decorative shafting; the Jacobean façade features a 3-storey 3-bay centre block and 2-storey single bay wings with cornices and shaped gables. The outer bays of main block have 2-storey angled bay windows with open parapets.

Access to the main house is via a semi-circular headed doorway with rusticated arch and an Ionic motif above a keystone. Above the porch is inscribed "SLB 1912", which refers to the date of the final acquisition of the house and additions to it by Stanley and Lucy Baldwin; the porch is flanked by Ionic pilasters. On the interior, the entrance lobby has a Jacobean strapwork ceiling. On the garden front, the main house is plainer with a 2-storey pedimented porch containing a coat of arms; the extension to the right has on first floor Ionic 3-bay loggia with arched central bay, a further extension to right terminates in a rendered pavilion concealing water tower. The main house at Astley Hall was built between 1850 for the Lea family. Thomas Simcox Lea, of Astley Hall, was High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1845. At the beginning of the 20th century it was sold to Stanley Baldwin, who lived at Astley Hall from 1902 until his death in 1947. In 1912 he managed to buy the whole of its additions. Lucy Baldwin died of a heart attack at Astley Hall in June 1945.

Stanley Baldwin 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, continued to live at Astley Hall until his death there on 14 December 1947. After Lord Baldwin's death, Astley Hall was sold and became a school, a care home; the building was Grade II listed on 27 November 1984. Astley Hall was acquired by its current owners in May 2012, it is now in institutional use as a nursing home and not open to the public. In the Worcestershire area close to Stourport there are several large manor and country houses, among which Witley Court, Astley Hall, Pool House, Areley Hall and Abberley Hall are significant. There is a monument to Stanley Baldwin just below Astley Hall, directly on the Stourport to Worcester road. After his death, a national appeal failed to raise sufficient money for this memorial. Winston Churchill made up the shortfall and attended the dedication; the monument consisted of an inscribed base topped with a statue. Astley Hall on Astley Hall on Astley and Astley Hall on Description of Astley Hall on Gordon Lovett, A history of the people and places of Astley, 2000