Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ornaments Reserved for the Sovereign Pontiff

If you know anything about papal vestments, as you read this bit below you might even hear in the back of your head the Charge of the Batmobile or Attack of the Batwing (by Danny Elfman)!

"What ornaments are reserved for the Sovereign Pontiff?

In certain ceremonies or audiences the Pope wears a lace rochet, a mozetta of red velvet or satin, bordered with ermine, and a stole likewise of red velvet or satin.

Besides the ornaments proper to priests and bishops, such as the alb, the chasuble, the mitre, etc., he wears special ornaments according to circumstances. Among them are:

1st. The falda, a demi-soutane of white silk with a train which is borne by dignitaries of the papal court.
2d. The mantle for the papal chapels (analogous to the cope), which is white or red according to the feast or the office. It is ornamented with the formal or pectoral, a large plate of silver or silver gilt, which serves to hold the edges of the mantle together over the breast of the Pontiff.
3d. The phanon or fanon, which consists of two light mozettas. The upper one is worn outside the chasuble and the lower one over the alb.
4th. The succinctorium, a vestment similar in shape to a maniple and, on solemn occasions, worn hanging from the cincture.
5th. The tiara, formed of three crowns placed one above another, and enriched with diamonds and precious stones. It represents the Pope's triple power of bishop, sovereign pontiff, and king.
6th. The pontifical ring.
When the Pope makes his solemn entrance into the basilicas of Rome or into consistories, he is seated on a chair or throne called the sedia gestatoria. Twelve servants of the papal court bear it on their shoulders.
7th. The flabelli, or fans, of ostrich feathers, are carried on either side of the Pontiff in papal processions.

St. Thomas Aquinas says: 'The Roman Pontiff does not use the [pastoral] staff, because St. Peter sent it to raise to life one of his disciples, who was afterwards made bishop of Treves; and therefore the Pope carries the staff in the diocese of Treves, but in no other; or again, as a sign that he has not a limited jurisdiction, for such jurisdiction is denoted by the curvature of the staff.' The Pope uses the cross instead of the crozier."

Exposition of Christian Doctrine by A Seminary Professor (La Salle Bureau), 1941.

N.B. For solemn liturgies in the Vatican Basilica the Popes always vested at the altar of Pope St. Gregory the Great (near the entrance to the sacristy).

1 comment:

Daniel Weller said...

I'd like to see one of these "succinctoriums". Any pics?