Pope Francis to bless and present the pallium to Archbishops Eamon Martin and Kieran O’Reilly

26 Jun 2015

  • Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown to vest both archbishops with the pallium in their respective archdiocese

On the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul this Monday, 29 June, the Holy Father Pope Francis will bless and present the ‘pallium’ to Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of  Armagh, and to Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, after concelebrated Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  The pallium is a white woollen strip, worn around the archbishop’s neck, which symbolises the bond and union between an archbishop and the Pope.  The wearing of the pallium dates back to the fourth century, and predates the miter and the crozier as episcopal symbols.

After the presentation of the pallium, and in order to emphasise the participation of the local Church, Pope Francis has decided that this year the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops (residential archbishops who preside over an ecclesiastical province) of the world will be formally vested with the pallium by the Apostolic Nuncio at a subsequent ceremony in their own archdiocese.  In this way Pope Francis desires that the investiture will take place in the presence of local bishops and other members of the faithful in the suffragan dioceses of their respective ecclesiastical province.

Archbishop Eamon Martin’s investiture with the pallium will take place at 7.00 pm Vigil Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, on Saturday 4 July.  His Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, will conduct the investiture which will take place in the presence of representatives of the nine dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Armagh, which comprise: Ardagh & Clonmacnoise, Clogher, Derry, Down & Connor, Dromore, Kilmore, Meath, Raphoe and Armagh itself.  Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly’s investiture will take place on a date in the early autumn.

Notes for Editors

  • The pallium is a woollen band, about three inches wide, and has a fourteen-inch strip hanging down the front and the back, which are tipped with black silk to recall the dark hoof of the sheep the archbishop is symbolically carrying over his shoulders. Saint John Paul II first placed the woollen bands around the shoulders of metropolitan archbishops at Mass on the Feast day of Saints Peter and Paul on 29 June 1983.  An ancient tradition, dating back probably at least to the sixth century, it involves the Pope blessing the pallium and concedes its use by certain bishops.  The current Code of Canon Law stipulates that within three months of their appointment or consecration all metropolitan archbishops must request a pallium from the pope.  The pallium signifies the power which the metropolitan archbishop, in communion with the Bishop of Rome, has by law in his own province.


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