This zucchetto, belonging to Pope Leo XIII, has a card attached to it with a wax seal signed by a member of the papal household verifying its authenticity.
A zucchetto is the skullcap worn by the pope and clergy. It comes from the Latin word, zucchini, and actually is in the shape of a squash. It covers the head of a priest or pope and comes in various colors depending on the rank of the individual wearing it.
All papal zucchettos are white. Varying colors denote the rank of other clergy.
Originally, when a man entered a religious community, the sign of his vow of obedience was a tonsure, that is, the shaving of a portion of his head. The zucchetto was used to keep his head warm over the shaved portion.
Pope Leo XIII
1978 – 1903
As soon as he was elected to the papacy, Leo XIII worked to encourage understanding between the Church and the modern world. When he firmly re-asserted the scholastic doctrine that science and religion co-exist, he required the study of Thomas Aquinas and opened the Vatican Secret Archives to qualified researchers, among whom was the noted historian of the Papacy Ludwig von Pastor. He also re-founded the Vatican Observatory “so that everyone might see clearly that the Church and her Pastors are not opposed to true and solid science, whether human or divine, but that they embrace it, encourage it, and promote it with the fullest possible devotion.”
Leo XIII was the first Pope of whom a sound recording was made. The recording can be found on a compact disc of Alessandro Moreschi’s singing; a recording of his praying of the Ave Maria is available on the web. He was also the first Pope to be filmed on the motion picture camera. He was filmed by its inventor, W. K. Dickson, and blessed the camera while being filmed. Since he was born in 1810, he also became the earliest-born notable person who was filmed.
Pope Leo XIII (2 March 1810 — 20 July 1903), born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. He was the oldest pope (reigning until the age of 93), and had the third longest pontificate, behind Pius IX (his immediate predecessor) and John Paul II. He is the most recent Pope to date to take the name “Leo” upon being
This is a silver chalice belonging to Pope Leo XIII that he both used and gave as a gift to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his priesthood in 1887. It’s all silver with his papal coat of arms engraved on its base.
As precious an item as this is, it really is because it leads back to the Eucharist, having contained the Precious Blood of Christ. It all leads back to Jesus Christ, sacramentally. So as spectacular as the chalice is, what’s more important is what has been inside of it.
So we can look at this and be amazed to think Pope Leo XIII used this, but what’s more amazing is that Christ shed his blood and gave it to us to drink and this vessel has contained it.
I use this chalice on a daily basis. It’s a good way to stay connected to this Pope because as a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, I’m aware he established our Diocese in 1889. So it’s a real good connection to our founding Holy Father. But then, I also have that real tangible connection each day, using a chalice that our Holy Father used. While I could store this, it’s so spiritually significant that I want both to use it at Mass and in teaching situations.
Pope Leo XIII, until Pope John Paul II, was the second longest reigning pope in history. When elected, he was 68 years old. He actually followed Pius IX, who at present, is the longest reigning pope in history. Pius IX died in 1878. After a very long pontificate, they usually try to elect an older guy, so the pontificate will be for a briefer period of time. But he fooled them! He lived so long that he ended by being the second longest reigning pope in history, (until the reign of Blessed John Paul II) dying in 1903. –Father Richard Kunst
Papal Artifacts honors the gift of his life to our Church.
Below are just a few of the artifacts belonging to or associated with Pope Leo XIII. Please visit Papal Artifacts/Leo XIII for all of them. Here is a link: