Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tiara: Important Symbol of Primacy of St. Peter

Three crowns: Father, Son, Holy Ghost.


  1. JP,

    I believe the three crowns represent the three munera of the Church: ruling, teaching, and sanctifying.

  2. Given that the tiara's name in Latin is "Triregnum" isn't it's primary symbolism papal authority, papal reign?

    There have been various suggestions as to what three realms of authority are suggested by the Triregnum: the pope’s universal office, his jurisdiction over the whole Church, and his temporal power; OR authority over the Church militant, the Church penitent, and the Church triumph; OR Priest, Prophet, and King.

    What is the heraldic source for suggesting the the three crowns are Trinitarian?

  3. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, indeed!

    you have stated that you are a 'graduate student.'

    yet you evidence little education....

  4. Well said with new trinitarian angle.

  5. If the tiara is to ever return, unlikely as that is, the trinitarian angle would have to be the one to be emphasized.

  6. @anonymous: "new trinitarian angle" may not be a compliment on a blog that eschews all things new.

    For what it's worth, a symbol dictionary website acknowledges that the Trinity is indeed a contemporary designation but goes on to offer what it calls a more "honest" explanation.

    "The original head-dress was of Persian origin, and is related to ceremonial headgear worn by Byzantine dignitaries. The crowns began piling on in the twelfth century, when the Church decided to emphasize its sovereignty. A second crown emerged over another dispute over secular vs. ecclesiastical authority in the fourteenth century, and a third was added to reinforce the theme a few decades later. Today it is generally given out that the three crowns represent the trinity; in a somewhat more honest explanation, that the three crowns represent(in ascending order) the Church’s temporal, ecclesiastical, and heavenly authority."


  7. #13. "Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions."
    (#13. Hinc Papa triplici corona coronatur tanquam rex coeli, terre et infernoram.") (

    Twining also notes the various allegorical meanings attributed to the three crowns of the papal tiara, but concludes that "it seems more likely that the symbolism is suggested by the idea that took shape in the 13th and 14th centuries that the Emperor was crowned with three crowns--the silver crown of Germany at Aix-la-Chapelle, the iron crown of Lombardy at Milan or Monza and the golden imperial crown at Rome and therefore the Pope, too, should wear three crowns."[12]