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The Pins of the Papal Pallium - Mystic and Esoteric Implications

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The Pins of the Papal Pallium
Mystic and Esoteric Implications

The number of symbols linked to the Pallium has significantly increased over the centuries.At the beginning, the Pallium was above all an ecclesial symbol. In other words, throughout the first millennium, the Pallium would symbolize the lost sheep, and it made reference to the shepherd carrying a sheep > on his left shoulder <.

The pallium is an ancient Episcopal symbol made of pure wool. It has been worn by Roman Bishops since the 4th century to symbolize Christ’s yoke, carried by the “Servant of the Servants of God”, as the Pontiff is called.
In early Christian times until mid 9th century, the pallium was long and draped around the neck with its ends hanging down from the left shoulder, in the manner of the Western fashion, as shown in the fresco of the Sacro Speco of Subiaco, dating back to around 1219 and portraying Pope Innocent III.
This is the Pallium of all iconographic models, portrayed in all mosaics of the first millennium. It symbolizes the Good Shepherd, with "the sheep" resting "its head on his right shoulder ". As explained below, this detail may carry a specific symbolic meaning about earthly energy spinning up to become "divine" energy.

Then, after the first millennium, the style of the Pallium changed. It was no longer clearly symbolic of the lost sheep, but it was worn to form the letter > Y < , thus acquiring a different symbolic meaning.


like the one attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville,
in the Miniature from Codex 167 – dating back to the 10th century
together with Saint Braulio, Bishop of Saragoza.

The " Y " points the right "WAY" to the shepherd
where hewill fnd the "lost sheep"

> which is nothing but "His own Soul" <

This is the Pallium worn by Pope John Paul II on Christmas night 1999 > with the pin on the left shoulder < and, according to a certain tradition, in a reversed position.

However, this is – most probably - the only time Pope John Paul II has worn this type of Pallium chosen by the Spiritual Leader of the Catholics and pointing to the right > WAY <. In all other occasions, Pope Wojtyła has always worn a Pallium with black crosses.

The Pallium has maintained a peculiar symbolic-mystic meaning. The Pallium is made of lambwool symbolizing, as already mentioned, the "lost sheep", while the crosses are the symbol of the "Good Shepherd", who is always ready to lay down his life for his sheep.

Hence, above all, the Pallium has carried the christological meaning of Christ as the Good Shepherd.

In 1999, in a speech delivered during the ceremony for the imposition of the pallium to a group of Metropolitan Archbishops, Pope John Paul II highlighted two key points:
> 1) the unique relationship between the Metropolitans and the Successor of Peter.
> 2) the fact that the lambs providing the wool for the pallium symbolize "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and has volunteered to redeem the world".

Further, he added: "With its white wool, the pallium refers to the innocence of life, while its six crosses refer to our daily loyalty to God, up to martyrdom – if ever necessary

Ornament with a high symbolic value

Some centuries later, when all vestments became smaller in size, the pallium, which acquired today’s fashion and colors, followed suit. In other words, it became a band of white wool, a few centimeters wide, embroidered with black crosses and embellished with three pins, decorated with precious stones.

The crosses are symbolic of the plagues of the Lord. 

The pins have become to symbolize the three nails of the crucifixion.

The traditional Pallium is decorated with 6 black crosses embroidered with a black silk thread.

The Pallium is a second class of relic, assigned by the Pope to Metropolitan Archbishops on the eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (celebrated on June 28).

The Sacred Pallia are made with the wool of two white lambs bred by the nuns of San Lorenzo in Panisperna Monastery in Rome, and offered to the Pope by the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, who serve the Basilica di Sant’Agnese fuori le Mura. The relics of Saint Agnes are kept in the crypt of this church, together with those of Saint Emerenziana. As a matter of fact, lambs are often portrayed in the traditional iconography of this Roman saint.

The lambs are reared by the nuns, who shear the wool during the Holy Week. Such shearing is purely symbolic, since the wool of the lambs is never enough to weave all the required Pallia. For this reason, it is normally mixed with the wool of other lambs.

The lambs are blessed in the Basilica of Sant’Agnese on the 21st of January, commemorating the bloody death of the Roman martyr, occurred in the year 350 A.D. in the Circus Agonalis - today’s Piazza Navona. Here, where she was exhibited and killed with a thrust of a sword, just like lambs used to be killed in those days, there is a crypt dedicated to her. The Pope blesses the lambs, that are a traditional symbol of this Saint, and whose wool will be used to weave the Pallium.

As a matter of fact, in the crypt named after her, she is portrayed with two popes, both of them wearing the archaic Pallium.

The new Pallia are then placed on the coffin containing the remains of the Apostle Peter under the main altar in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, before they are handed out to the Archbishops: in this way, the power and spirit emanating from the relics of the Apostle Peter will descend on the new Pallia.

This was undoubtedly the reason why Benedict XVI, when appointed to the Holy See, opted for the archaic form of the Pallium < the same worn by Saint Apolinère and Innocence III.

In an interview given to accredited journalists in the Vatican Radio’s Press Room on April 23, 2005, Monsignor Valenziano pointed out that in the ceremony that would officially begin his Papacy, Pope Benedict XVI wanted to point out > St. Peter’s influence < on his role as Shepherd of the Catholic Church, thus evoking the tasks entrusted by the Resurrected Christ to Simon Peter of Bethsaida, who trusted Jesus’ word and tried one more cast of the net. These tasks are particularly highlighted by the venues specifically chosen for the installation ceremony, but above all by the two symbols > the ring < and > the pallium< selected by Pope Ratzinger as Peter’s direct successor.

Changes to the shape of the Papal pallium and to the number of crosses

During the first three years of his Papacy, the Pope used to wear the traditional pallium, which was later replaced with one similar to the pallium used by his predecessors.

However, as maintained by Monsignor Valenziano, the style of the pallium used by Benedict XVI since the start of his Pontificate has entailed a number of bothersome problems. Therefore, starting June 29, 2008, Benedict XVI has been wearing a Y-shaped pallium, similar to the one used by Metropolitans but wider and longer and decorated with > 6 red crosses < in lieu of the 5 black crosses featured on the archaic pallium he wore on the day of his installation to the Papal throne.

Therefore, since June 29, 2008 the style of the Pallium worn by Pope Benedict XVI at solemn liturgical celebrations has changed. For the Mass on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, he wore the closed circular pallium, with the ends hanging down the center, front and back. Strangely enough, this pattern was already present in his Coat of Arms, as
> a cryptic sign of clairvoyance <
for its clear resemblance with the Pallium he had first worn in June 2008, as if he had guessed that he would be replaced, three years after his installation as new Pontiff.

The Pallia may be embroidered either with black, or red crosses. However, I’ve not yet been able to find out who are the recipients of those with the red crosses and on what occasions.

One thing is sure, however: namely, that this model of Pallium with red crosses, embroidered in pairs on each of the three bands, has never been used by Benedict XVI, who had > one single copy < custom made for him.

His Pallium is totally different in the > shape of the crosses < (four red equilateral triangles) and no longer made of three discreet bands joined together, but featuring a > single round piece < with two strips hanging down on the chest and on the back.

The color chosen for the "crosses" is another detail with a specific > symbolic meaning < : a warm, red color, like the one used on "Ferrari" Formula 1 cars. Also, the chosen number of crosses and their position must have a precise symbolic meaning. Indeed, there are no longer two Maltese crosses embroidered on each of the three wool bands, but > 4 < crosses on the rounded band and only > one < cross on each of the strips; joined together they form > 6 red pyramids < corresponding to < three octahedrons >.

The type of Pallium worn by the previous Popes - the last of them being Pope Wojtyła - is currently used exclusively by Metropolitan Archbishops. It features a circular 6 cm wide lambswool band, to be placed on the Metropolitan’s shoulders and around his neck.

The monastery in charge of weaving the pallia and in particular the papal Pallium is the Order of Saint Cecilia.

Two black Maltese crosses are embroidered on each of the three bands.

All the woollen bands are joined together, by inserting two of them into the slightly curved one at the centre, so that the Pallium can be put on the chasuble, with one strip hanging on the chest and a second one on the back, so that – both from the front and the back - the Pallium reminds of the letter "Y".

On each cross (in the front just under the neck, and on both the left and right shoulders), there is a small loop, on which precious needles are pinned > the so called "Pallium pins" or "aciculae”, in Latin.

The heads of these pins are decorated with jewels and they should always be directed to the right (from a viewer’s point of view),

or to the left of the Pope. However, Benedict XVI does not seem to follow this usual direction and for this reason he has been criticized by some sectors of the Roman Curia and catholic associations.

However, this position is not compulsory, since, according to custom, other positions are also possible, that the Pope and few others seem to know.

All the patterns
of Pallium crosses used by metropolitan archbishops are the same, however the position of the two threads used to insert the pins and fix them on the Pallium may vary.

In some models > the loops < for insertion of the pins are all in the same position, so that all the three pins are pinned > from left to right <.

This is also confirmed in this picture of Benedict XVI wearing the new Pallium.

Conversely, in others, when the pins must be placed on the left shoulder and the back, according to a very specific pattern, > the loops < of the cross on the left shoulder are inverted.

In the new Pallium used by Benedict XVI, >the loops< for insertion of the pins are still > three<. We do not know, however, whether the reason is merely sartorial, or rather linked to the symbolic meaning of the number > 3 <.

With regard to the three (7 cm long) pins decorated with ornamental jewels, their position, direction (clockwise and anti-clockwise), quality, and color of the stones are personally chosen by the Pope, and may vary, also depending on the ceremony he is going to attend.

As shown in these pictures, Pope Wojtyła was allegedly following a > leftward direction < thus complying with the principle of mystic esoterism.

As also suggested by Leonardo da Vinci, among others, in his drawing of the Vitruvian Man, which clearly masks a cryptic message.

>The pin in the middle < at the level of the left shoulder, was always placed in an anticlockwise direction opposite to the other two pins, on the chest and on the back, respectively.                            

Today, the Pallium, decorated with 6 black crosses, is used only by Metropolitan Archbishops, while before it was also used by the Popes, until Woityla who, at times, used pins with a red cross and a diamond in the middle. Initially, this pin was also used by Benedict XVI, but only on the Pallium he received for his installation as new Pontiff.

In order to correctly interpret the cryptic symbolic message that has a clear esoteric meaning, the most interesting symbolic element is the fact that both Popes have used the same type of pins with a red cross, although placed > on different shoulders <.

Following a tradition based on hermeneutics, theology, and the magisterium of the Church, every single component of the Pallium carries a highly symbolic message, which is very difficult to fully understand even for experts. By the way, Pope Wojtyła had chosen to wear the three pins with the red cross and "only one diamond" at the centre of the rays, to be identified with the "red rose" of " Rosicrucian Knights". Conversely, Pope Ratzinger, on a special occasion, when he was still wearing the first Pallium with five crosses, opted for > one pin with a red cross < with – strangely enough - "four small diamonds" on the four sides of the cross. The pins in this case were carried at the front and placed in an opposite direction. Allegedly, he has never worn them this way again, since he changed the Pallium model.

However, Benedict XVI has not just changed the position and the fashion of the three gold pins, but above all he has modified the style and the shape of the Pallium as well as of the crosses.

At the beginning of his papacy, Benedict XVI opted for an ancient style of Pallium, hanging down to his knee from his left shoulder.

It was embroidered with five crosses symbolic of the five wounds of Jesus, when he was hung on the cross, inflicted to him on the head by the crown of thorns, on his hands and feet by the three nails with which he was fixed on the cross, and by the lance struck in his side by the Roman soldier Lancinus, who intended to kill him in order to bring his excruciating pain to an end.

Since June 29 2008, Benedict XVI has stopped wearing the ancient Pallium out of convenience, as maintained by the Roman Curia. This Pallium was then bestowed on Pope Celestine V.

Later on, Benedict XVI opted for yet another model with semiprecious stones of various types and colors.

The Pallium pattern changed from linear to anular. Indeed, the first model was wrapped around while the second one is put on from the top. However, the shape and number of > crosses < is also meaningful: they are > 6 < again, of a brighter red color, as against the previous > 5 < crosses embroidered on ancient Pallium models. But, above all - and of no minor detail at all - they are

> exactly identical<

to the one portrayed in the coat of arms of the Scottish Freemasonry representing the 30th Grand Elect Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Order of the White and Black Eagle.

The Kadosh is the "saint", the "pure" man who has crossed the threshold of supreme initiation, trying to free himself from all psychological, spiritual, and philosophical conditioning.

We still need to understand the symbolic and esoteric reasons why Benedict XVI has changed the Pallium style making it circular, larger (9 cm), longer, as well as with 6 red crosses, as against the previous 6 black crosses.

Actually, the distinction, and, above all, the reasons why he stopped wearing the > "Y" shaped Pallium < - which is similar to the one normally worn by Metropolitan Archbishops as well as by the other Popes, before him -, are not easy to understand.

As a matter of fact both the Pallium with black crosses, as well as the one with red crosses worn by Pope John Paul II on Christmas Eve 1999, have a > Y < both at the front and at the back, in order to highlight that the Shepherd always knows which path he has to follow to find again the lost, black sheep.

The decision to replace the Pallium with 5 red crosses, worn by Benedict XVI, when he was appointed Pontiff, is also quite puzzling.

All these variations are evidence that the new Pontiff has decided to take a different, more esoteric and mystic direction, where the energetic poles are inverted, so that the spirit, through a spiraloid anticlockwise movement - just like the cosmic one - may progressively rise one octave at a time, up to the infinite heavens, and come in direct contact with God

In order to get access to this level, the pins must be properly positioned, in order to >< reverse the direction of energy >< when the ceremony so requires.

except for the > back < pin, which keeps the same direction of the one on the chest.

A specific > pattern < is most probably followed

linked to very old traditions, like the Celtic one, represented here by this cross, which is also made of

> four equilateral triangles <

In the celtic cross, it refers to the symbol of the triskelion (from ancient Greek tris-keles = 3 legs), representing cosmic cycles.

It graphically reproduces the 3 solar phases: sunrise, midday, sunset.

Its 3 spirals rotate > clockwise and anti clockwise <

This Celtic symbol has survived Christianization and maintained its original value of Trinity:

> the 3 ages of man (childhood, maturity, old age)
> the 3 natures of divinity (human, animal, botanical)
> the 3 aspects of the goddess (mother, daughter, sister)

> the 3 elements of the world: earth<> green (among the Celts symbolized by the wild boar), water<> blue (= fish), air <> yellow (= dragon), which, with their movement, are symbolic of the 4th element (fire), generally summarized in the circle framing the triskelion.

There are many more symbols assigned by different cultures worldwide to the > number 3 < (e.g. mother-father-son, sun-moon-earth, … ). Most probably, the Celts had many other 3-based categories making up the symbolic foundation of their triskelion.

However, coming back to our own investigations, we should understand why the Pope has oriented his triskelionif it is indeed a triskelion- to the left.

It appears, in fact, that he has followed the same mystic and esoteric approach of Druid priests.

< Triskell en Vaticano>

However, we also believe that reference is made to Plato’s and Pythagoras’ metaphysical concept concerning the symbolic and esoteric meaning of the 5 polyhedrons and Metatron’s cube.

Furthermore, with regard to gemstones, there is probably a close connection to the > 12 stones < placed on "Aaron’s Pectoral". All these gemstones have specific ritual, magical, and perhaps even thaumaturgical meanings. It is not by chance that they are also mentioned in the Apocalypse, where they are referred to as the same stones used for building the "Heavenly Jerusalem".

> Some questions immediately come to mind:

1) Why has Benedict XVI decided not to resume again the > Y < shaped Pallium, but has rather kept the same Pallium worn by Metropolitan Archbishops?

2) The 5 red crosses of the previous Pallium were meant to represent Jesus’ 5 plagues on the cross. What is then the meaning of the 6 red crosses, since Benedict XVI has also decided to change the < pastoral>, opting for the one used by Pius IX with the gold Greek cross, and getting rid of the silver cross?

3) Why has he opted for the > red cross < which in the coat of arms of the Scottish Freemasonry represents the 30th Grand Elect Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Order of the White and Black Eagle?

4) Why
has he opted for the > three gold pins < that resemble a sword, instead of the traditional simple "nail" of the cross, by changing their position, direction (clockwise and anticlockwise), quality and color of the gemstones, that are constantly changed depending on the type of ceremony that the Pope is about to celebrate?

5) What is the symbolic meaning of the color and quality of the >three Gemstones < such as the chrysoprase (green), the cordierite (blue), and the topaz (yellow), or any other combination of gemstones he decides to wear from time to time?

6) Is the decision linked to the 4 elements > Water<> Fire <> Air<> Earth < ?

7) What is the principle keeping them together?

8) In what occasions, when having to choose the gemstones of the pins, does he opt for just one element, such as "water" or "fire"

9) May this selection be linked to the > energies < of the various chakras?

10) Beyond their mystic meaning, is there a link with the energy of the 6 red crosses and the six pyramids, obtained when joining together the "4 equilateral triangles" that make up each "cross"?


11) Could perhaps the Pallium be a > talisman < or a > magic circle < ?

Just like in Goethe’s "Faust"

Magic Circle is used in various rituals to release, build up, or dissipate energy.

With the Magic Circle you can concentrate your energy, thus increasing your individual and/or collective power

But it also allows you to fend off > negative, unwanted energies < while allowing only evoked energies to get in

As soon as these techniques are mastered, they will allow your energy

> to flow both clockwise and anti clockwise <

and reach ever higher levels of awareness

This is exactly what happened inside the Basilica of Collemaggio, which hides the

"Secret of the Triple 888"

… in order to fly softly towards the infinite sky, driven by divine breath and by the music of celestial spheres

from Heart to Heart
avv.Giovanni Salvati

A man cannot change the world
but he can spread a
that can change the world


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