To mark the founding of the Society of Jesus on September 27, 1540, the Holy Father, himself a Jesuit, visit with his Jesuit brothers and enjoyed pranzo with them. He is the only Jesuit to ever be elected pope.
The Society of Jesus–a Roman Catholic missionary organization–received its charter from Pope Paul III. The Jesuit order played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the world to Catholicism.
Here is an image of Pope Paul III & a new artifact from his papacy.
Pope Paul III: Early Vellum Papal Bull w/ Lead Bulla, 1544
Definition of 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.
On this particular bull, Pope Paul III’s coat of arms is actually on it, which is interesting.
The bull is generally an official document of the Holy Father. We know by the choice of threading used, either silk or twine, the importance of any particular bull.
The artifact is a very rare and large example of a 16th century vellum papal bull with the lead bulla attached.
This untranslated bull dates to the papacy of Paul III (1534-1549), specifically to his 10th year as Pope (c.1544). The lead bulla of Paul III is attached to the bull, but it’s strangely upside down. It appears that the seal had at some point been detached and someone then tied the cord together, which now displays the seal upside down.
Other than that strange fact, the bull itself is in great condition, with nice calligraphy in the Pope’s name and several signatures of the Roman Curia underneath the vellum flap.
This bull measures approximately 16 x 24 inches.
Pope Paul III left a legacy that includes, among other things, presiding over the Council of Trent.