Order of Pope Pius IX

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Order of Pope Pius IX
Italian: Ordine di Papa Pio IX
3° Conde de ParatyDSC02687.JPG
Knight's cross of the Order of Pius IX
Awarded by   Holy See
TypePapal order of knighthood
(Virtue and Merit)[1]
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignPope Francis
GradesKnight with the Collar
Knight/Dame Grand Cross
Knight/Dame Grand Officer
Knight/Dame Commander
Next (higher)Order of the Golden Spur
Next (lower)Order of St. Gregory the Great
VA Ordine Piano BAR.svg
Ribbon bar of the order

The Order of Pope Pius IX (Italian: Ordine di Pio IX), also referred as the Pian Order (Italian: Ordine Piano), is a papal order of knighthood originally founded by Pope Pius IV in 1560. The awarding of the order fell into disuse and was re-instituted by Pope Pius IX as a continuation on 17 June 1847.[1] Since November 1993, it has been granted to women.

The highest rank awarded by the Pope is the gold Collar of the Order, awarded to heads of state on the occasion of official visits to the Holy See. The Grand Cross is the highest Papal award given to lay men and women, often given to Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See after two years in post as well as exceptional Catholics in the wider world for particular services, mainly in the international field and for outstanding deeds for Church and society.

The next rank is that of Knight (and now Dame) Commander, to whom the Star (the same as worn by the Grand Crosses) may be given as a higher distinction. The lowest rank is that of Knight or Dame. It is awarded to Catholics and non-Catholics and, on occasion, to non-Christians.

Order of Classes[edit]

1893 artistic sketch of the medal.

The Order comprises five classes:

  • Knight with the Collar: who wear a gold chain around their shoulders which is decorated with the papal tiara and two doves, and on the breast a large badge. It is the highest active papal decoration, and is reserved for heads of state.
  • Knight / Dame Grand Cross (GCPO): who wear a wide dark blue silk ribbon (sash) bordered with red which extends saltire-wise from the left shoulder to the right side where the star of the order is suspended by a rosette, and on the breast a large diamond-studded badge. It is commonly awarded to the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.
  • Knight / Dame Commander with Star (KC*PO / DC*PO): who in addition to the star wear a badge of smaller design than that of Knights of the Great Ribbon on the breast
  • Knight / Dame Commander (KCPO / DCPO): who wear the decoration at the neck
  • Knight / Dame (KPO / DPO): who wear the star on the left breast
Pope Pius IV, founded the first Pian Order in 1560.
Pope Pius IX, re-instituted the Pian Order under his Papal name and pontificate in 1847.
VA Ordine Piano BAR.svg
Knight/Dame Commander
VA Ordine Piano BAR.svg
Knight/Dame Commander with Star
Order Pius Ribbon 1kl.png
Knight/Dame Grand Cross
VA Ordine Piano BAR.svg
Knight with the Collar

Insignia and uniform[edit]

The decoration is a regular octagram made of blue enamel, the spaces between the rays filled with gold flames. On the white medallion in the center the name of the founder surrounded by the words Virtuti et Merito ("Virtue and Merit") is engraved. The reverse side is the same save for the substitution of Anno 1847 for Pius IX. The rarely worn official uniform consists of an elaborately embroidered dark blue evening coat with golden epaulettes, white trousers, and a white-plumed bicorne.

Knights with the Collar wear a gold decorated chain around the neck, and a star on the left side of the breast; Knights Grand Cross wear a sash and a star on the left side of the breast; Commanders wear a cross around the neck; and Knights wear a smaller cross on the left breast of the uniform:

Notable members[edit]

Royal houses and nobility[edit]

The Pian medal belonging to the 21st President of Brazil Juscelino Kubitschek, unrestored and on display on his memorial


Diplomats to the Holy See[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rock, P.M.J. (1913). "Pontifical Decorations" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ "King of Burundi Praised by Pope in Vatican Visit". The New York Times. 17 December 1962. p. 2.

External links[edit]