A Papal Mantum of Pope Benedict XV

Frequently when we see vestments worn by the popes of yesteryear, it is very easy to look at them, remark on their quality and beauty and then move along, not really having any further information or insight into their particular provenance (and frequently not even a closer look at them). Fortunately, with an ever increasing availability of publications related to this subject, it has become ever more possible to understand what we are looking at historically speaking and take a moment to relish some of the details.

Today I wished to look at a cope -- or what is referred to as a "mantum" which is really nothing more than a cope with a longer train -- that originated in the pontificate of Pope Benedict XV who reigned from 1914-1922.

Perhaps the most famous picture of this particular mantum is not of him wearing it however, but one of his successors, Pope John XXIII:

Here is what the mantum looks like when fully displayed:

This particular mantum is thought to have been produced by the atelier of Alfonso Romanini, one of the suppliers of the papal sacristy for many years.  The shield or hood of the cope contains a beautiful embroidery of a dove encircled by rays, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

Depicted on the orphreys are Ss. Peter and Paul, St. James and St. John the Evangelist. The stemma of Benedict XV are also present, while the main body is entirely covered in a pattern of fleur-de-lys. 

As one might expect, this mantum is made of the finest materials, being comprised of a beautiful white silk lamé that has been embroidered with gold thread. 

There is speculation that this particular vestment was presented to Benedict XV for the occasion of the canonization of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque on May 13, 1920.  

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