You might have heard of this, but, since I have been traveling and using the interwebs less than usual in the last couple weeks, it was news to me.
A member of the Macedonian parliament brought a gift to Pope Francis from the Orthodox convent of St. George of Rajcica: a papal tiara, the triple crown symbol of the Bishop of Rome’s authority over just about everything. Women, nuns, lovingly made it by hand, embroidering it and setting it with pearls from a lake near their convent.
Such a beautiful gift! I am sure the Holy Father beamed with delight. After all, Benedict XVI did when he was presented with a small version of a tiara, even though Pope Francis is the first Pope who – as the press acknowledges – ever smiled.
Sometimes a photo is worth 5000 thousands words.* And, these days, they remain easily accessible.
His Holiness didn’t too happy with the tiara, which was lovingly made by women.
Remember when the Pope was in South America and he received the “crucifix” in the style of a global symbol of the violation of human rights?
Okay… a photo out of context doesn’t tell the whole story.
*Adjusted for Holy See Word Inflation.
Yes, as it turns out there are other photos of the Pope with the tiara.
It must be difficult to be a dignitary who receives gifts all the time. For my part, I have had on many occasions to put on a smile and nod and make pleasing sounds when receiving some things. But what someone like the Pope of Rome must do constantly is different by orders of magnitude.
Meanwhile, I think the choice by Orthodox of a tiara as a gift to the Pope of Rome was pretty interesting.