The definitions included in this glossary are associated with the objects contained in this Collection. They are not necessarily the only definitions but are indicative of the information contained in the Papal Artifacts web site.
Wherever applicable, an example of the definition being given from the Collection will be suggested for your viewing.
Ad limina Visit
A decree issued by Pius X in 1909 (that was put into effect in 1911) requiring all bishops to report on the state of their dioceses to the pope once every five years.
Age of Enlightenment
The eighteenth-century movement that embraced rationalism, progressive thought, and advancement of human knowledge and freedom. It is closely identified with such figures as Rousseau, Voltaire, and Thomas Jefferson.
Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) Pieces
An Agnus Dei is a round or oval wax disk impressed with a lamb on one side and figures of saints or the pope on the other side.
The alb is the oldest liturgical vestment, a simple white, ankle length garment sometimes cinctured at the waist.
A garment of clothing worn by the priest as part of his Mass vestments
These are medals produced by the Vatican on a yearly basis having different themes from one year to the next. They may be gold, silver or bronze and are of various sizes.
A papal letter that is less formal than a papal bull.
The word, bull comes from the Latin, bubble. It is the lead seal that was appended to the end of a document acting as the signature of the pope. On one side, it contains the pope’s name and on the other, images of Saints Peter and Paul from whom he is given his authority.
An ecclesiastical title of honor that refers to the college of priests whose duties are to celebrate solemn liturgical functions in a cathedral, college church or basilica. Canons continue in major basilicas throughout Rome and gather daily for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. Many popes included in the papal histories spent part of their careers as canons in the major basilicas.
The ankle length garment worn by clergy with a close fitting waist and sleeves and a fascia (sash) around the waist.
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