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Catholic Dictionary




The papal crown, which is a tall headdress of gold cloth ornamented with precious stones, encircled with three coronets and surmounted by a cross. Originating as a plain, helmet-loke cap about A.D. 1130, it soon acquired its present form. The first circlet symbolizes the Pope's universal episcopate; the second, his primacy of jurisdiction; and the third, his temporal influence. It is placed on the Pope's head at coronation, by the second cardinal deacon, with the words: "Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns, and know that you are Father of princes and kings, guide of the world, vicar of our Savior Jesus Christ." The tiara is worn only at nonliturgical ceremonies. Paul VI was the last Pope to be crowned with the tiara.