Stemma Papale

When the Holy Father is in Rome on Sundays he usually will give his Angelus address from a window of his residence in the Apostolic Palace.  From the window sill there will drape a tapestry with the Pope’s coat-of-arms, or stemma.

On Sunday a new stemma papale was seen.

Thanks to Rinascimento sacro for the images.




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  1. ErnieNYC says:

    Goodbye mitre, hello triregno

  2. In the words of the old song, “Ti-a-ra-BOOM-de-ay!”

  3. teaguytom says:

    The tiara image is very beautiful. Many gemstones. I’m wondering which tiara it is based on. Usually the tiara on the heraldry is based on a specific tiara. It looks similar to the Spanish and Palatine tiaras, but the shape of the lower crowns is unique.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    I’m surprised and confused. His Holiness chose the mitre for a reason… I guess I shouldn’t complain… but I really would like to know what’s up!

  5. Mariana says:

    Great! Also the keys with the cross shapes!

  6. Revixit says:

    This is a much more appealing design than the original one. I hope he’ll keep using it.

  7. arsregia says:

    Please note that the pictures has a wrong link.
    The right website of Ars Regia is
    You may see all details of papal arms here:


  8. Mark of the Vine says:

    I’m also a bit confused as to why the mirte gave place to the tiara (not that I’m complaining, mind you).

  9. B.C.M. says:

    Now if our Good and Holy Father would only put one on…

  10. VaticanSpecOps says:

    I wonder… does this represent a shift in thinking on the part of our dear Holy Father? I love the new image with the tiara… I wonder why he switched from the miter, though?

  11. girasol says:

    Step by step, brick by brick!

  12. basilorat says:

    The next Motu Proprio, “Tiara Nostra”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fr. Guy Selvester at Shouts in the Piazza informed me that when Abp (now Cardinal) Montezemolo designed pope’s coat of arms, questions were raised to the Secretariat of State of the Holy See from nunciatures across the country whether they should change the tiara to a mitre. They were told emphatically, “no”

    If you remember the pope gave up the original pallium in which he was invested. It seems that the pallium and the coat of arms were presented to him as a fait accompli without ever asking his opinion. This would seem to ring true given Pope Benedict’s obvious appreciation for, and desire to, retain and promote tradition.

  13. C. says:

    “O felix Roma! O felix Roma nobilis…”

  14. nanetteclaret says:

    I’m wondering if the item behind the key is one part of a Torah or a Torah case?

  15. irishgirl says:

    Oooo-this is NICE! I like it!

    ‘Ti-a-ra BOOM-de-ay!’-oh, that’s funny!

  16. Re: mitre — Why assume the Holy Father wasn’t asked? He’s been very slow and careful all along about bringing stuff back, and about avoiding fights by picking his time to move. He had no reason to put people’s backs up, so he bided his time until it would no longer be an issue.

    Right now, a lot of the usual suspects are a bit busy worrying about other things; and frankly, I don’t think anybody is in the mood to be offended by the triple tiara. Italy and the rest of Europe can’t say much about this being somehow offensive to their sovereignties, because they’re all under the EU. The UK is basking in the sunshine of his visit. The US is worrying over the corrected translation. Most people never realized the popes stopped using the tiara symbol in the first place, and who’s going to tell them? The news is too busy with bad economies, and Lu Xiaobo’s Peace Prize, and Iran’s nuclear program.

    So yeah, you just bring out the dark winter hanging, and it’s a new one because the old one was looking a little worn, and this time there’s a tiara on it. Who will notice, except Vatican watchers? It’s just one more brick; it doesn’t stick out.

  17. RichardT says:

    nanetteclaret, I can’t see anything behind the keys, other than the lappets of the tiara (possibly it’s a stole, but I think they are just rather long lappets) which are wrapped around them. There is also the gold cord that ties the keys together. But I can’t see anything else. Am I missing somethings?

  18. danphunter1 says:

    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.)

  19. Geoffrey says:

    I read an article by an ecclesiastical heraldist in “Inside the Vatican” magazine that His Holiness had chosen the mitre as a sign of gratitude to Pope Paul VI. The mitre in the papal arms was a representation of a mitre personally given to Pope Benedict XVI by Pope Paul VI.

  20. The article from “Inside the Vatican” is incorrect. The author of that article made that up entirely out of whole cloth. I’m very friendly with a heraldic artist in Italy who was consulted on this project within days after Pope Benedict was elected. Several proposals were shown to him because along with including the pallium (an innovation in papal heraldry) it was proposed to the new Pope that a mitre instead of the tiara be used. This had already begun as a “movement” of sorts by those in charge of papal liturgy and ceremonial as far back as the pontificate of Pope Paul VI! There are several places in the Vatican itself (including the floor of St. Peter’s basilica) where the arms of John Paul II were depicted with a mitre. So, the Pope considered this and asked that a mitre be used but one that looked sort of like the tiara (hence the three horizontal bands).

    I believe that the Pope never anticipated that anyone would care very much about it but the world media immediately jumped on the idea that the new Pope was “sending a message” with his coat of arms and a great deal of attention began to be paid by a lot of people (not just those of us interested in heraldry).

    Now, slowly, corrections are being made.

    It is also important to note that depicting the Pope’s coat of arms with the tiara was ALWAYS a perfectly legitimate option despite the fact that the so-called “official” version prepared by Cardinal deMontezemolo didn’t use it. The tiara has ALWAYS remained the heraldic emblem of the papacy. Proof of this is seen in the many places (on vestments, furniture, the papal gardens, the Gendarmerie of the Vatican, etc.) where the tiara has been employed over the last five years. This latest move is a most welcome assertion that there is no such thing as only one version of a coat of arms that must be copied. Different artists depict it differently. I have no doubt that the version with the mitre-tiara hybrid will continue in use as well. It doesn’t have to be either/or. Rather, in this case both/and is correct.

  21. Athanasius says:

    Now if only he would wear it!

  22. anna 6 says:

    Perhaps we will get the answer in Peter Seewald’s new book: “The Light of the World” (based on his interviews with the pope this summer at Castelgandolfo). In this Reuters blog Josie Cox spoke to Seewald about the book, but expresses frustration that she couldn’t get a better scoop…”When the most he will say about the revelations in his sure-fire bestseller is that it will reveal “the secret behind the famous episcopal miter”?
    I think the new design is much more attractive…but I do wonder why he would change it at this point.
    I am sure people will read all sorts of messages in this, but I suspect that Fr. Selvester is accurate in saying “I have no doubt that the version with the mitre-tiara hybrid will continue in use as well. It doesn’t have to be either/or. Rather, in this case both/and is correct.”

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