Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice
Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.jpg
Obverse of the current medal
Awarded forRewarding those who in a general way deserve well of the pope on account of services done for the Church and its head
CountryHoly See
Presented by  Holy See
EligibilityClergy and laity
StatusCurrently awarded
Established17 July 1888
Benemerenti Medal (Vatican) - ribbon bar.png
Current ribbon
Previous ribbon
Next (higher)Order of St. Sylvester
Next (lower)Benemerenti Medal

Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice ("For Church and Pope" in Latin) is a decoration of the Holy See. It is currently conferred for distinguished service to the Catholic Church by lay people and clergy.


The medal was established by Leo XIII on 17 July 1888 to commemorate his golden sacerdotal jubilee and was originally bestowed on those men and women who had aided and promoted the jubilee, and by other means assisted in making the jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful.[1]

In 1898, it became a permanent papal distinction.[2] Pius X reduced the classes to a single one in 1908.[2]

Until 1993, it was the highest honour that could be obtained by women.[3]


1888 version of Leo XIII[edit]

The cross was initially only cast in gold and silver.[2] A bronze version was added later.[2] On the medal is a cross made octangular by fleurs-de-lis fixed in the angles of the cross. The arms of the cross narrow towards the center, with slightly indented ends, approaching the form of the patonce cross. In the center of the cross is a small medal with the image of Leo XIII. The words "Leo XIII P. M. Anno X" (tenth year of his pontificate) circle the image. In the center of the reverse side are the papal emblems. The motto Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is stamped in the circle surrounding the emblems.

On the obverse side of the medal, the branches of the cross are comets, which, with the fleurs-de-lis, form the coat of arms of the Pecci family [it]. Stamped on the reverse side are the words "Pridie" (on the left branch), "Kal" (on the top branch), and "Januar" (on the right branch) and the year "1888" (at the foot of the cross). The medal's ribbon is red, with delicate lines of white and yellow on each border.[a] The cross is worn on the left side of breast.[b][4]

Current version since Paul VI[edit]

The current version was introduced by pope Paul VI and is only awarded in gold. The obverse depicts the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the centre of the cross.[5] The inscription Pro Ecclesia (For Church) is stamped on the left arm, Et Pontifice (And Pope) on the right. Three small crosses are situated at the end of the left, bottom and right cross arm. During the pontificat of Paul VI and John Paul II, the top arm of the cross carried the coat of arms of the reigning Pope and his name in Latin on the bottom cross arm. The decoration's ribbon shows is yellow and white: the colors of the Papacy.

The design was modified under Benedict XVI: The individual coat of arms in the top arm of the decoration was replaced by a small cross while the coat of arms of the Holy See replaced the small cross on the bottom arm.[2] The name of the reigning pope no longer appears on the front side.[2]




  1. ^ There is information about the existence of a purple ribbon with white-yellow edges, which should have been used from 1893 to 1908. Such a ribbon most certainly did not exist. It is probably the visual implementation based on the description in the papal letter Quod singulari Dei concessu: "[…] purpurei coloris linea alba flavaque ad utramque oram virgata dependeat […]". The translation of "purpurei coloris" as violet and "linea alba flavaque" as a yellow-white line leads to a different appearance of the ribbon. See:
    Lint van het Kruis Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in drie opeenvolgende versies.gif
  2. ^ The frequently cited Catholic Encyclopedia article Pontifical Decorations wrongly states that the cross is worn on the right side.


  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia . 1913 – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ehrenzeichen (auch als ""Ehrenkreuz"" bezeichnet) ""Pro Ecclesia et Pontefice""". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  3. ^ Norbert Göckener. "Was sind Päpstliche Ehrentitel?". Retrieved 2019-07-15.
  4. ^ "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. For the Church and the Pope". Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  5. ^ "Cardinal Brady confers Papal award of the Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice – 'for the Church and the Pontiff' – to Mr Joe Fallon | Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference". Retrieved 2012-05-28.
  6. ^ "Amongst Our Catholic People". Catholic Freeman's Journal. Vol. LXXXVI. New South Wales, Australia. 6 January 1938. p. 18. Retrieved 4 October 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Jane Clements Monday (1997). Voices from the Wild Horse Desert. University of Texas Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-292-75204-7.
  8. ^ Jasinski, Laurie E. (September 5, 2019). "East, Sarita Kenedy". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2023-03-24.
  9. ^ "Events of the Year 1955 in the Organ World in Review" (PDF). The Diapason. 47 (2): 6. January 1, 1956.
  10. ^ Payten, Marianne, "Burrow, Kathleen Mary (Kate) (1899–1987)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, retrieved 2022-08-26
  11. ^ 曾野綾子プロフィール. Prime Minister's Official Residence (Japan) (in Japanese). Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  12. ^ Jones, Arthur (1997). "She was bishop's right-hand woman for years". National Catholic Reporter. 34 (9): 5 – via EBSCO.
  13. ^ "Remembering the life of Rita Hamel Karing 1931". Retrieved 2022-08-29.
  14. ^ "Zmarł ks. Stanisław Pawlina FDP". (in Polish). Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  15. ^ abliturgy (2017-09-03). "Anne Ward receives Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal". A&B Liturgy. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  16. ^ NZ Catholic - Decades of service in Maori Mission recognised by Pope 7 Jan 2019.
  17. ^ "Pope Francis Confers Papal Honors on Two N.H. Laymen". The Berlin Sun.
  18. ^ "10 Catholics named to receive papal honors". Catholic Philly. Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  19. ^ "Pope Francis Bestows Honors Upon 28 Individuals for Exceptional Service to the Church in Philadelphia". Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  20. ^ "Hoogste pauselijke onderscheiding voor wijlen Emile Wijntuin". GFC Nieuws (in Dutch). 19 October 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Pope honours local four". 9 April 2022.

External links[edit]