All the newest Archbishops of the world gather at the Vatican to receive their pallium from the Holy Father. Archbishop Collins received his pallium as Archbishop of Toronto in 2007. For the occasion, our office put together what we call a "backgrounder" to help the media and general public understand the significance of the cermony.
So while school is technically out for summer, today we give you a little education on the pallium and its history. You can impress your friends the next time they ask you, "What the pallium?" Congratulations and prayers to the 34 archbishops receiving the lamb's wool this year!
Background on the Pallium
The Pallium is a circular white woolen garment worn around the neck and is a symbol of jurisdiction and fidelity to Christ in the Roman Catholic Church. The Pallium predates Christian era by at least 200 years.
Originally a simple garment worn for warmth in Greece, early Christians adopted it as a sign of their fidelity to Christ and over time the Christian symbol of fish was used to adorn the garment and in later centuries the cross. Once worn by all Christian followers, by the ninth century, the pallium evolved to a garment given exclusively by the Pope to metropolitan archbishops.
All new metropolitans are expected to be present in Rome for the investiture of the Pallium on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29) following their appointment. On the eve of the Feast, the pallia are carried in great ceremony to the Crypt of St. Peter beneath the High Altar in the Vatican Basilica. There they are blessed and placed in a silver gilt casket. The next morning they are carried in procession at Mass for the investiture ceremony.
"To the glory of almighty God and the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Holy Roman Church, for the honour of the Church of Toronto, which has been placed in your care, and as a symbol of your authority as Metropolitan Archbishop: we confer on you the pallium taken from the tomb of Peter to wear within the limits of your ecclesiastical province.
May this pallium be a symbol of unity and a sign of your communion with the Apostolic See, a bond of love, and an incentive to courage. On the day of the coming and manifestation of our great God and chief shepherd, Jesus Christ, may you and the flock entrusted to you be clothed with immortality and glory. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
- Pallium – singular. Pallia – plural
- An Archbishop can have more than one pallium bestowed on them. To stress the jurisdictional nature of the pallium, a transferred archbishop who already holds a pallium from his previous see, can request a new pallium tied to his new jurisdiction.
- Burial – The pallium is the personal property of an Archbishop as the garment is bound to his person and cannot be transferred to another. An Archbishop can be buried with the pallium upon his death or as per his request put in another suitable location.
- An Archbishop must wear the pallium if vested in sacred vestments.
- Only one pallium can be worn during a liturgical celebration.
- If the Pope is present, he wears his pallium as his jurisdiction is universal.
- If multiple Archbishops are present, the Archbishop whose jurisdiction the celebration is being held at wears his pallium.
Photos: L'Osservatore Romano