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Catholic Dictionary




A sacred vestment symbolic of the fullness of episcopal authority. It is an inch-wide white wool circular band ornamented with six small crosses with a pendant strip attached in front and another behind, worm about the neck, breast, and shoulders of the Pope and archbishops. Made from the wool of two lambs blessed in the Church of St. Agnes in Rome. When granted to a bishop the pallium is purely ornamental. In Eastern rites patriarchs alone are invested with it. It is an outward sign of union with the Holy See. Pope John Paul I was formally invested on September 3, 1978, with the pallium instead of the traditional papal tiara at a Mass he concelebrated with members of the college of cardinals. His successor, Pope John Paul II, was also invested with the pallium.