The Papal Tiara, also known as the Triple Tiara, or in Latin as the 'Triregnum', in Italian as the 'Triregno' and as the 'Trirègne' in French, is the three-tiered jewelled papal crown, supposedly of Byzantine and Persian origin, that is a prominent symbol of the papacy. The Supreme Pontiff's arms have featured a "tiara" since ancient times, notably in combination with Saint Peter's crossed keys.
Papal tiaras were worn by the popes of Rome and Avignon from Pope Clement V (d. 1314) to Pope Paul VI, who was crowned in 1963. Pope Paul VI abandoned the use of his own tiara after the Second Vatican Council, symbolically laying it on the altar of St. Peter's Basilica, and donating its value to the poor. However, his 1975 Apostolic Constitution Romano Pontifici Eligendo on the manner of electing the Pope, still envisaged that his successors would be crowned.
However his immediate successor, Pope John Paul I, decided against a coronation, replacing it with a ceremony of what was called "Inauguration of the Supreme Pontificate"; and after John Paul I's sudden death, Pope John Paul II told the congregation at his Inauguration:
|“||"The last Pope to be crowned was Paul VI in 1963, but after the solemn coronation ceremony he never used the tiara again and left his Successors free to decide in this regard. Pope John Paul I, whose memory is so vivid in our hearts, did not wish to have the tiara; nor does his Successor wish it today. This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object considered, wrongly, to be a symbol of the temporal power of the Popes. Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself."||”|
Though not currently worn as part of papal regalia, the continuing symbolism of the papal tiara is reflected in its use on the flag and coats of arms of the Holy See and the Vatican. Until the reign of Benedict XVI the tiara was also the ornament surmounting a Pope's personal coat of arms, as a tasselled hat (under which a 1969 Instruction of the Holy See forbade the placing of a mitre, a second hat) surmounted those of other prelates. In a break with tradition, Pope Benedict XVI's personal coat of arms has replaced the tiara with a mitre. This particular mitre contains three levels reminiscent of the three tiers on the papal tiara. However, in the coat of arms of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep the tiara, not a mitre.
According to James-Charles Noonan and Bruno Heim the lowest of the three crowns appeared at the base of the traditional white papal headgear in the ninth century. When the popes assumed temporal power in the Papal States, the base crown became decorated with jewels to resemble the crowns of princes. He suggested that a second crown was added by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298 to symbolize spiritual dominion. Very soon after, in or around 1314, a third crown and lappets (cloth strips) were added; Pope Clement V was the first to wear the triple tiara.
However, a fresco in the Chapel of Saint Sylvester (consecrated in 1247) in the church of the Santi Quattro Coronati in Rome seems to represent the Pope wearing a tiara with two bands and with lappets.
An alternative chronology suggests that the tiara began as a sort of closed "tocque". In 1130 a crown was added, symbol of sovereignty over the Papal States. Boniface VIII, in 1301, added a second crown, at the time of the confrontation with Philip the Fair, King of France, to show that his spiritual authority was superior to any civil authority. Benedict XII in 1342 who added a third crown to symbolize the Pope's moral authority over all secular monarchs, and reaffirmed the possession of Avignon.
Last crowned Pope
As with previous popes, Pope Paul VI was crowned with a tiara at the papal coronation. As happened sometimes with previous popes, a new tiara was used, donated by the city of Milan, where he was Archbishop (and Cardinal) before his election. Quite different from earlier tiaras, it was not covered in jewels and precious gems, and was sharply cone-shaped. It was also distinctly lighter in weight than earlier tiaras.
At the end of the second session of the Second Vatican Council in 1963, Paul VI descended the steps of the papal throne in St. Peter's Basilica and laid the tiara on the altar in a dramatic gesture of humility and as a sign of the renunciation of human glory and power in keeping with the renewed spirit of the Council. Since then, none of his successors has worn a tiara.
Pope Paul's tiara was presented to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. by the Apostolic Delegate to the United States on February 6, 1968 as a gesture of Pope Paul VI's affection for the Catholic Church in the United States. It is on permanent display in Memorial Hall along with the stole that Pope John XXIII wore at the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Paul's decision to abandon the use of one of the most striking symbols of the papacy, the papal tiara, proved highly controversial with some Traditionalist Catholics, many of whom continue to campaign for its re-instatement to former usage. Some indeed branded him an antipope, arguing that no valid pope would surrender the papal tiara.
A permanent end to the wearing of the triple tiara?
Pope John Paul I dispensed with the 1000-year-old tradition of a papal coronation and the wearing of a papal tiara, deciding not to take advantage of the mention of a coronation in Pope Paul VI's 1975 Apostolic Constitution Romano Pontifici Eligendo, then in force: "Finally, the Pontiff will be crowned by the Cardinal Protodeacon and, within an appropriate time, will take possession of the Patriarchal Archbasilica of the Lateran, in accordance with the prescribed ritual."
In a passage of his Inauguration homily, quoted above, Pope John Paul II remarked that both his immediate predecessor and he himself had wished neither a coronation nor a tiara, and added: "This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object considered, wrongly, to be a symbol of the temporal power of the Popes."When, in his 1996 Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, he revised the rules on the election of Popes, he removed all mention of a papal coronation, replacing it with a reference to an "inauguration": "After the solemn ceremony of the inauguration of the pontificate and within an appropriate time, the pope will take possession of the Patriachal Archbasilica of the Lateran, in accordance with the prescribed ritual."
As in the Pope Paul VI's document, the phraseology is descriptive, not prescriptive. Besides, it lays down no rules about the form of the "ceremony of the inauguration of the pontificate", which could indeed take the form of a coronation. In any case, a Pope is not bound by ceremonial rules made by a predecessor, and may freely change them.
With the current disappearance of the papal coronation, the British monarch is now the only monarch in a western country to receive a coronation. All others, like modern popes, are "inaugurated" into office.
Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed the continued use of representations of the tiara as an official symbol of the papacy. It is still featured as one of the ornaments on the personal coat of arms of Popes John Paul I and John Paul II, who never used the actual object. However, John Paul II gave his official approval later in his reign to depictions of his arms without the tiara, as with the mosaic floor piece towards the entrance of St Peter's Basilica, where an ordinary mitre takes the place of the tiara. The coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI has replaced it with a mitre: "The Holy Father Benedict XVI decided not to include the tiara in his official personal coat of arms. He replaced it with a simple mitre which is not, therefore, surmounted by a small globe and cross as was the tiara".
Each year a papal tiara is placed on the head of the famous bronze statue of Saint Peter in St. Peter's Basilica from the vigil of the Feast of the Cathedra of Saint Peter on February 22 until the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. Although this custom was not observed in 2006, it was reintroduced in 2007.
Multiple papal tiaras
Although often referred to as the Papal Tiara, historically there have been many, and twenty-two remain in existence. Many of the earlier papal tiaras (most notably the tiaras of Pope Julius II and that attributed to Pope Saint Silvester) were destroyed, dismantled or seized by invaders (most notably by Berthier's army in 1798), or by popes themselves; Pope Clement VII had all the tiaras and papal regalia melted down in 1527 to raise the 400,000 ducats ransom demanded by the occupying army of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Over twenty silver tiaras exist, of which the earliest, the sole survivor of 1798, was made for Pope Gregory XIII in the sixteenth century. On March 21, 1800 as Rome was in the hands of the French, Pius VII was crowned in exile, in Venice, with a papier-mâché tiara, for which ladies of Venice gave up their jewels.
Many tiaras were donated to the papacy by world leaders or heads of states, including Queen Isabella II of Spain, William I, German Emperor, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Napoleon I of France. The tiara provided by the last was made from elements of former papal tiaras destroyed after the capture of Rome, and was given to Pius VII as a 'wedding gift' to mark Napoleon's own marriage to Empress Josephine on the eve of his imperial coronation. Others were a gift to a newly elected pope from the See which they had held before their election, or on the occasion of the jubilee of their ordination or election.
In some instances, various cities sought to outdo each other in the beauty, value and size of the tiaras they provided to popes from their region. Examples include tiaras given to Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, the former by John's home region, the latter by Paul's previous archiepiscopal see of Milan on their election to the papacy.
Popes were not restricted to a particular tiara: for example, photographs on this page show Pope John XXIII, on different occasions, wearing the tiara presented to him in 1959, Pope Pius IX's 1877 tiara, and Pope Pius XI's 1922 tiara.
Pope Paul VI, whose bullet-shaped tiara is one of the most unusual in design, was the last pope to wear a triple tiara (though any of his successors could, if they wished, revive the custom). Most surviving tiaras are on display in the Vatican, though some were sold off or donated to Catholic bodies. Some of the more popular or historic tiaras, such as the 1871 Belgian tiara, the 1877 tiara and the 1903 golden tiara, have been sent around the world as part of a display of historic Vatican items. Pope Paul VI's "Milan tiara" was donated to and is on display in the crypt church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.,United States of America.
Shape of the Triple Tiara
Most of the surviving triple tiaras have the shape of a circular beehive, with its central core made of silver. Some were sharply conical, others bulbous. All tiaras but that of Pope Paul VI were heavily bejewelled. Each tiara was structured in the form of three crowns marked by golden decorations, sometimes in the form of crosses, sometimes in the shape of leaves. Most were topped off by a cross sitting above a monde (globe), representing the universal sovereignty of Christ.
Each tiara had attached to the back two lappets; highly decorated strips of cloth embroidered with golden thread, bearing the coat of arms or another symbol of the pope to whom the tiara had been given.
There are two rather unusual tiaras: the papier-mâché tiara made when Pope Pius VII was elected and crowned in exile, and the one made for Pope Paul VI in 1963, which is somewhat bullet-shaped, contains few jewels and, rather than having the addition of three tiers, is marked with three parallel circles.
The tiara given to Pope Pius IX in 1877 by the Vatican's Palatine Honour guard in honour of his Jubilee (see photograph below) is strikingly similar in design to the earlier tiara of Gregory XVI. It remained a particularly popular crown, worn by, among others, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII. Pope Pius XI's 1922 crown, in contrast was much less decorated and much more conical in shape. (See image below of this tiara worn by Pope John XXIII.)
Except for the papier-mâché tiara, the lightest tiara was that made for Pope John XXIII in 1959. It weighed just over 2 lb (910 g), as did the 1922 tiara of Pope Pius XI. In contrast, the bullet-shaped tiara of Pope Paul VI weighed 10 lb (4.5 kg). The heaviest papal tiara in the papal collection is the 1804 tiara donated by Napoleon I to celebrate both his marriage to Josephine and his coronation as French emperor. It weighs 8.2 kg (18.1 lb). However it was never worn, as its width was made, some suspected deliberately, too small for Pope Pius VII to wear.
A number of popes deliberately had new tiaras made because they found those in the collection either too small, too heavy, or both. Rather than use the papier-mâché tiara, Pope Gregory XVI had a new lightweight tiara made in the 1840s. In the 1870s, Pope Pius IX, then in his eighties, found the other tiaras too heavy to wear and that of his predecessor, Pope Gregory, too small, so he had a lightweight tiara made also. In 1908 Pope Pius X had another lightweight tiara made as he found that the normal tiaras in use were too heavy, while the lightweight ones did not fit comfortably.
New methods of manufacture in the twentieth century enabled the creation of lighter normal tiaras, producing the 900 g (2 lb) tiaras of Pius XI and John XXIII. That, combined with the existence of a range of lightweight tiaras from earlier popes, meant that no pope since Pius X in 1908 needed to make his own special lightweight tiara.
There is no certainty about what the three crowns of the Triple Tiara symbolise, as is evident from the multitude of interpretations that have been and still are proposed. Some link it to the threefold authority of the "Supreme Pontiff: Universal Pastor (top), Universal Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (middle) and Temporal Power (bottom)". Others interpret the three tiers as meaning "Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Saviour Jesus Christ". When popes were crowned, the following words were used:
- Accipe tiaram tribus coronis ornatam, et scias te esse Patrem Principum et Regnum, Rectorem Orbis, in terra Vicarium Salvatoris Nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et gloria in sæcula sæculorum.
- (Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, Vicar of Our Savior Jesus Christ in earth, to whom is honor and glory in the ages of ages.)
Yet others have associated it with the threefold office of Christ, who is Priest, Prophet and King, an association mentioned as a possibility by Pope John Paul II in his Inauguration homily, or "teacher, lawmaker and judge". Another traditional interpretation was that the three crowns refer to the "Church Militant on earth", the "Church Suffering after death and before heaven", and the "Church Triumphant in eternal reward". Yet another interpretation suggested by Archbishop Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who designed Pope Benedict XVI's tiara-less coat of arms, was "order, jurisdiction and magisterum", while a further theory links the three tiers to the "celestial, human and terrestrial worlds," which the pope is supposed to symbolically link. Lord Twining suggested that just as the Holy Roman Emperors were crowned three times as king of Germany, king of Italy and Roman emperor, so the popes, to stress the equality of their spiritual authority to the temporal authority of the emperor, chose to be crowned with a tiara bearing three crowns.
Conspiracy theory and Papal Tiara
The conspiracy theory of "Vicarius Filii Dei" (Vicar of the Son of God), supposedly considered an expansion of the historic title "Vicarius Christi", is a term used in the "Donation of Constantine" to refer to Saint Peter. From the nineteenth century, because the interpretation of Uriah Smith, some groups of Seventh-day Adventists argue that the sentence is identified with the "number of the beast" (666), and would be used in the papal tiara, calling the Pope would be the Antichrist.. But due to lack of images or any source of Use "Vicarius Filii Dei" the tiara or miter, and the term was never used as an official title, the claim was abandoned by many Seventh-day Adventists. 
The triple tiara was not worn for liturgical celebrations, such as Mass. At such functions the Pope, like other bishops, wears a mitre. However, one would be worn during the solemn entrance and departure processions, and one or more could be placed on the altar during the elaborately ceremonial Pontifical High Mass.
The tiara was thus worn in formal ceremonial processions, and on other occasions when the pope was carried on the sedia gestatoria, a portable throne whose use was ended by Pope John Paul II immediately after his election in October 1978. His short-lived predecessor, John Paul I, also chose initially not to use it, but relented when informed that without it the people could not see him. In addition, the triple tiara was used for "solemn acts of jurisdiction" where the pope appeared "in state", for example in making an ex cathedra definition (using Papal Infallibility). It was also worn when a pope gave his traditional Christmas and Easter Urbi et Orbi blessing from the balcony of St Peter's, the only religious ceremony when the tiara was worn.
The most famous occasion when the triple tiara was used was the papal coronation, a six-hour ceremony, when the new pope was carried in state on the sedia gestatoria (portable throne - see image of Pope John XXIII, left), with attendants fanning the pontiff with ostrich-feathered flabella to the location of the coronation. Traditionally, coronations took place in or in the environs of St Peter's Basilica.
At the moment of the coronation, the new pope was crowned with the words
- Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Pope Paul VI opted for a significantly shorter ceremony. As with all other modern coronations, the ceremony itself was only symbolic, as the person involved became Pope and Bishop of Rome the moment he accepted his canonical election in the papal conclave. The two subsequent popes (John Paul I and John Paul II) abandoned the monarchial coronation, opting instead for an investiture. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI took a step further and removed the tiara from the papal coat of arms, replacing it with a mitre.
- For tiaras unrelated to the papacy, see Tiara
Only one other Catholic prelate is allowed to use a tiara in his coat of arms: the Patriarch of Lisbon, a title created in 1716 and held by the archbishop of Lisbon since 1740. Confusion with the papal coat of arms is easily avoided as the pope always combines his tiara with the crossed keys of St. Peter.
The 16th Century Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent commissioned Venetian craftsmen to make a 4-tiered tiara modeled on the Papal design, to demonstrate that his power and authority exceeded that of the Supreme Pontiff. This was a most atypical piece of headgear for an Ottoman sultan, which he probably never normally wore, but which he placed beside him when receiving visitors, especially ambassadors. It was crowned with an enormous feather.
Conversely, the papal coronation ceremony, in which the Pope was fanned with flabella (long fans of ostrich feathers) and carried on the sedia gestatoria (portable throne), was based on the Byzantine imperial ceremonies witnessed in medieval Constantinople.
Medieval tarot cards included a card showing a woman wearing a papal tiara and known as the Popess or Papess or the High Priestess. The meaning and symbolism of the card is uncertain. The crowned woman has variously been identified as Pope Joan (a woman who according to a medieval and later Protestant myth had disguised herself as a man and been elected pope; some cards also show a child, and the Pope Joan myth pictured her as found out when she gave birth during a papal procession), as Mary, Mother of God, or even as Cybele, as Isis, or as Venus. Cards with a woman wearing a papal tiara, produced during the Protestant Reformation, and apparent images of "Pope Joan" and her child, have been seen as a Protestant attempt to ridicule the office of the papacy and the Catholic faith.
The papal tiara, however, disappeared from later cards, which showed the Popess wearing more standard medieval female headgear. The tarot cards also contained a representation of the pope, in some cases crowned with a papal tiara.
- Papal regalia and insignia
- Papal Coronation
- List of popes
- Papal States
- Holy See
- Papal Mass
- ↑ Papal Inauguration Homily of Pope John Paul II, L'Osservatore Romano (Text of the Homily)
- ↑ Secretariat of State, instruction "Ut sive sollicite", 28, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 61 (1969) 334-340 (English translation in L'Osservatore Romano, April 17, 1969): "The use of the crozier and mitre in the coat-of-arms is suppressed."
- ↑ http://web.archive.org/web/20041108203222/www.home.earthlink.net/~herald97/guyselvester/ (archived)
- ↑ James-Charles Noonan, The Church Visible, (ISBN 0-670-86745-4)
- ↑ Bruno Heim, Heraldry in the Catholic Church, Humanities: 1978, (ISBN 0-391-00873-0), p.50
- ↑ Pope St. Sylvester, December 31
- ↑ Traditionalist Catholic website criticising Benedict XVI's non-use of the papal tiara
- ↑ Romano Pontifici Eligendo (1975), 92.
- ↑ Universi Dominici Gregis (1996), No. 92.
- ↑ Although some depictions of the Papal Insignia of Benedict XVI have included the Papal Tiara, including in the embrodery of the Vestments he wore during the Mass in the Cathedral of Sydney during World Youth Day 2008. Also some documents bearing the Pope's signature have also included the tiara in his Crest. The Coat of Arms of His Holiness Benedict XVI
- ↑ Designed by Ambrogio Foppa with a massive cost of 200,000 ducats, one third of the papacy's annual income, at a time when a parish priest was paid 25 ducats a year.
- ↑ To give a comparison in weights, St. Edward's Crown, with which British monarchs are crowned, weighs only 4 lb 12 oz (2.15 kg). Yet Queen Elizabeth II after her coronation commented how the crown "does get rather heavy". Similarly King George said after the Delhi Durbar in 1911 how the Imperial Crown of India "hurt my head as it is rather heavy". Yet both these crowns are lighter than most papal tiaras, and less than a third of the weight of the 1804 tiara given to Pius VII by Napoleon. Gyles Brandreth, Philip & Elizabeth (Century, 2004) p.311. and "The Crown Jewels" published by the Tower of London.
- ↑ Tu Es Petrus
- ↑ http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/documentazione/documents/sp_ss_scv/insigne/triregno_en.html
- ↑ The Holy See
- ↑ Website on pre-Vatican II liturgical and ecclesiastical vestments and symbols
- ↑ ElectAPope.Com - The Coronation
- ↑ CNS STORY: Pope drops papal crown from coat of arms, adds miter, pallium
- ↑ Vatican flag: redirect to the right page
- ↑ Twining, Lord Edward Francis (1960). A History of the Crown Jewels of Europe, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, England.
- ↑ Propaganda and Persuasion by Garth Jowett and Victoria and O'Donnell.
- ↑ Uriah Smith, The United States in the Light of Prophecy. Battle Creek, Michigan: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association (1884), 4th edition, p.224,
- ↑ Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, 223
- ↑ "Pope Fiction" by Patrick Madrid, Envoy magazine, March/April 1998.
- ↑ Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 11, p. 223.
- ↑ Adult Sabbath School Lesson for April–June 2002. See lesson 10 (June 1–7), "The Dragon Versus the Remnant Part 2"; particularly the studies for Thursday and Friday
- ↑ "ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 145 “Armageddon and ‘the War on Terror’: Part II”". http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/et_145.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- ↑ "ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER NUMBER 146 “The Saga of the Adventist Papal Tiara: Part 2”". http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/et_146.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- ↑ Like the Papal Tiara, the sedia gestatoria could be restored to use at any time. However, when Pope John Paul II's mobility became impaired, he opted not to be carried on men's shoulders, but instead to use a wheeled dias. This was criticized, because he could not easily be seen when sitting on it.
- ↑ John Cornwell, Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (Viking, 1999) pp. 211-212.
- ↑ Agostino never saw the Sultan, but probably did see and sketch the helmet in Venice
- ↑ The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1968. "Turquerie." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series 26 (5): pp. 229.
- ↑ Bruno Heim, Heraldry in the Catholic Church, Humanities: 1978, (ISBN 0-391-00873-0), p.52, 94.
- ↑ Levey, Michael; The World of Ottoman Art, p.65, 1975, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0500270651
- ↑ Dr. Robert O'Neill, Iconography of the early papess cards, Iconography of the pope cards
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- "Papal Tiara". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14714c.htm.
- contains a colour picture of Pope Pius XII wearing a papal tiara
- Images of recent popes wearing the papal tiara
- Holy See Press Office information on the papal tiara
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
- Images of several Papal tiaras