Monday, December 10, 2007

Papal Privileges - Patriarch of Lisbon

O.K. Finally!!!

I have found a picture of the Mitre-tiara that used to be worn by the Patriarch of Lisbon as a privilege given to him. I have also found a picture of the sedia gestatoria that the same Patriarch was allowed to have and preach from, but he could not use it for procession or things like that - just preach (I'm pretty sure).

This Mitre, from far away, is supposed to resemble a (papal) Tiara. That is the purpose of the three lines of jewls on it. Of course, the top will always look like a Mitre, even from far away, because it is a Mitre! However, the tiara (very different from the Papal one) is still part of coat of arms of the Patriarch of Lisbon. Check their website!

Now, this is a picture (very small, though) of the sedia and the flabella used by the Patriarch. The sedia looks smaller than the Papal one and not as wide. The flabella are much smaller, too.


Anonymous said...

Stupendous findings. I read on Nabuco the incredible privileges of the patriarch and I wondered how did the triregnum looked like.

latinmass1983 said...

It's great that there are other people reading (or trying to read) Mgr. Nabuco's great book!

This particular Mitre-Tiara is great! Only the top tells you that it is a "special" Mitre and not a Tiara.

If you are interested, I have a picture of a *very modern* Mitre-Tiara worn by the Patriarch sometimes in the 80's, I think .. or probably the 70's - I'm not sure. It's a weird Mitre-Tiara, though.

Also, I have a picture of the Patriarcal Manto that the Patriarch of Lisbon had the privilege to use and which Mgr. Nabuco talks about. Give me your e-mail if you would like to see them. Or you can wait until I post them here sometime in the future.

M.J. said...

Just saw this. Fascinating post.

Anonymous said...

Hey... nice post... Sorry about this but what is this book of Mgr. Nabuco? Where can I get a copy of it?
Anyway the Lisbon Patriarch had several privileges, that of wearing a proper triregnum (papal tiara)was one of those many privileges. However, maybe due to the respect the patriarchs always had towards the petrine pontiff, the never actually wore a real triregnum, so the mitre-tiara was a way found by the chapter of the Patriarch to still represent the Triregnum without actually wearing one. I have seen this mitre-tiara, and one other, dark red with gold crowns, also from the treasure of the Lisbon Patriarchal Cathedral.

As for the Sedia gestatoria, the patriarch was not only allowed to preach from it but as the pope, be carried in it in processions. As the pope in st peter had the privilege of being carried in the sedia to the pontifical throne inside the basilica, so had the patriarch the same privilege in the cathedral of Lisbon (and this particular privilege was indeed used in the old days... not anymore). This sedia gestatoria is indeed smaller than that of Rome,not in its width but because it does not have the 2 steps on wich to rest the feet (should be quite unconfortable to travel in this one!!).
Lastly, the flabella, are exactly the same as the pope's.. they are actually the pope's flabella. When the sedia privilege was given to the patriarch in the XVIII century, the pope offered to the then first patriarch two of his four flabella. Since then, the pope only used two flabella.

Thank you!

latinmass1983 said...

Nuno faria,

Mgr. Nabuco's book is titled: "Ius Pontificalium." The book is almost entirely in Latin, except for a few words in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese here and there.

The book is very great! It has some details about things that were not and are not seen frequently.

It does not seem to be easy to find a copy of that book. I found mine on

The Mitre of the Patriarch: It was not an actual Tiara. It was a Mitre that looked like a Tiara (If you look at it, it is not exactly like the Papal Tiara). This privilege also extended to the Patriarch's coat of arms, but even then, if you look at it, that Tiara does not look exactly or as fancy as the Papal one.

Would you be able to share some other pictures of this Mitre-tiara or any other of the privileges of the Patriarch of Lisbon?

The Sedia: Mgr. Nabuco says that the privilege of the Patriarch was just to sit and preach from it, but that it did not include being carried on it. I have not found a picture or video clip of the Patriach either sitting or being carried on the Sedia. Also, I have not found a picture of the Falda that the Patriarch was allowed to wear for Solemn Mass.

Flabella: The flabella look smaller than the Papal ones. If you look at pictures of the Papal flabella, they are much taller and the upper part of them is much wider and bigger.

I might do a post soon and compare/contrast the Pope's items with those of the Patriarch's.

Anonymous said...

Hi Latinmass,

Thank you for the info on the book... I'll try to find it.
My info however comes from the Dean of the Chapter of the Patriarchal Cathedral in Lisbon. He is a historian and is also the caretaker of the Patriarchal treasure. His doctorate thesis (50 years ago) was precisely on the privileges of the Patriarchate of Lisbon.
I also found some info in a book found on Milan's Catholic University that accounts in detail a Pontifical High Mass presided over by the Patriarch of Lisbon.

The Tiara: As history goes (I am told by the Dean), Pope Benedict XIV (1740's) granted the Patriarch the privilege of wearing the Tiara (Triregnum), as at the time half of the known world was under this bishop's ecclesiastical rule. This privilege was granted due to the persistence of the King of Portugal who wanted to make "his" Cardinal more powerful than the Hispanic Patriarch. Even quarting the Tiara on the coat of arms, the Patriarchs of Lisbon always showed the deepest respect for the Supreme Pontiff. So, not wishing to cause a rift between Rome and Lisbon, and at the same time acting with diplomacy towards the King, the Patriarch, along with his chapter, found a way to make everyone happy: the mitre-tiara. It was not a real Tiara, like the pope's, but its design showed the sign of the Triple Crown and the supremacy of the Portuguese Cardinal when compared to the Spanish one. So in conclusion, although the Patriarch of Lisbon has the privilege of wearing a real Tiara, he chooses not to do so, wearing instead a mitre like the one on the photo or the other one I mentioned. Nowadays, the Patriarch wears regular mitres. For the funeral of the Patriarch, however, the Mitre-Tiara will be set alongside his coffin (as happened in 1999 (?) for the funeral of Cardinal Ribeiro.
As for the Tiara quartered on the coat of arms of the Patriarchate, its simplicity is just a matter of design (if you check the Tiara on pope JP II’s coat of arms you will see it’s also simple).

The Sedia: The sedia was indeed used to transport the Cardinal-Patriarch on processions and into the Cathedral. (I don’t know where Mgr. Nabuco got the idea that it was just for preaching). On the book I found in Milan’s Sacro Cuore University, It is mentioned that the Patriarch enters the Cathedral on the Sedia, being held by 8 men, and flanked by the Guard of Honour. Behind him are the flabella. Plus, not just from the Dean’s info but also because I have seen with my own eyes the sedia, I can confirm that it has on its legs 4 holes where the carrying poles should be. As I mentioned the Sedia is not as tall as the pope’s because it does not have the 2 steps on which to place the feet. Let me remind you that this sedia is the original one from the XVIII century (It has never been replaced). And probably, as the Pope’s Sedia Gestatoria has been renewed over the centuries some elements were added (probably the steps).
This Sedia was used the last time in 1982 for the visit of pope JPII to the Lisbon Cathedral.

The Flabella: Lisbon retains the original XVIII century flabella offered by the pope. As with the Sedia, they were never renewed or replaced. You can’t really see it from the photo, but they are very wide and very baroque style (richly adorned with gold embroidery and ostrich feathers). You can see that they are very different from the ones used in the famous photo of Pope Pius XII, because as probably happened with the Sedia, the roman flabella also evolved (you can clearly see that the ones in Pope Pius’ photo are very neo-classical in style). If you find a painting of Pope Pius VIII on the sedia (on Wikipedia) you will see that both the flabella and the sedia are quite different than the ones of Pope Pius XII (and much closer to the Lisbon sedia). And you will see also - another detail – the 4 flabella.
As for their height, I have a photo of them where they are quite tall. It depends on the height of the poles to which they are attached, I guess. How can I share this photo with you?

Other privileges: Almost every privilege granted to the Patriarchs of Lisbon was copied from the Papal court. Like the pope, the Patriarch was also allowed to wear the Fanon and the Falda (not the subcinctorium, though). Whether they used them or not, I don’t know. Like the college of Cardinals, the Patriarchal Chapter was also divided in three ranks and although they were canon-priests, they were granted the privilege of wearing mitres (the so called “usum mitrae” (like Compostella or Prague). The canons don’t use the mitre anymore. I don’t know ifthey keep the chapter divided in three ranks either but I do know that there are senior rank and lower rank canons in the Lisbon chapter.

I’m sure there are other privileges, but I don’t know them… maybe I shoud have another chat with the Dean.
As for more photos of the sedia and the flabella, I really have to go to the treasure again one of these days and take a camera with me…

That’s all thank you for reading… lol

latinmass1983 said...


Would you happen to remember the name of the book you found?

In the back of the book, Msgr. Nabuco gives a short Bibliography of the books he used to write about the privileges of the Patriarch of Lisbon, but they have been very difficult to find.

Tiara: Msgr. Nabuco does not say that the Patriarch was given the privilege of wearing a real tiara. In fact, he says that that was always reserved for the Pope as a distinctive feature of the Pope. He also says that in the Sacristy of the Cathedral of Lisbon we will not find a tiara (I assume he means that it is because they never had one). He does specify that this Mitre that looks like a Tiara was called "triregnum" just like the Papal tiara and sometimes it was called "mitra regnum."

Sedia: "Ius Pontificalium" does not mention that the Patriarch used the sedia for the procession or recession. I do not know why... It says that it is never "in excelso elevatur;" that during the Mass the Patriarch preaches from it and that he uses it on Holy Thursday to consecrate the Holy Oils.

If you are able to find out more about this, it would be appreciated.

Flabella: I looked at pictures of paintings of Popes before Pius VII and their flabella almost always look very big. Maybe the Patriach's flabella were different sometimes - for really big ocassions? Also, in pictures and paintings, they alwats seem to be 2.

The Patriarch also seemed to have seven acolytes, the tasting of the wine and water.

I have not been able to find a picture of the Falda.

Thanks for all the information!

If you need to contact me (or if you are able to send me that picture you mentioned), this is my e-mail:

Thank you!