The Papal Falda

Pius XII in the falda

The papal falda (fibria) was a papal vestment that formed a long skirt with a train that extended beneath the hem of the alb.  There was a longer and even a shorter falda corta (fimbria minori) version (worn with the rochet for the creation of cardinals).  Popes wore this for the solemn celebration of Mass as well as the creation of cardinals and they were even buried in it.  Train-bearers held it up off the floor in the front and back.  Pius XI was the last to be buried in it. 

The Patriarch of Lisbon also had the prerogative or right and privilege by long-standing custom to wear the falda.  This venerable form of vestment had its origins in the Middle Ages.  It is difficult to say exactly when it was first seen.   The last Pope to wear the falda was John XXIII.  Needless to say, the falda did no one any harm.  It was a nice touch that added to the solemn nature of the rites.  It is greatly missed by many of us.  More photos of the falda can be seen here.  Stay tuned for its return one day.  

Pius XII in falda

Pius X in falda

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