Sic transit gloria mundi

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Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means "Thus passes the glory of the world."

Origin[edit]

The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409 (when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V)[1] and 1963. As the newly chosen pope proceeded from the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica in his sedia gestatoria, the procession stopped three times.

On each occasion, a papal master of ceremonies would fall to his knees before the pope, holding a silver or brass reed, bearing a tow of smoldering flax. For three times in succession, as the cloth burned away, he would say in a loud and mournful voice, "Pater Sancte, sic transit gloria mundi!" ("Holy Father, so passes worldly glory!").[2]

These words, thus addressed to the pope, served as a reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honours. The staff-like instrument used in the aforementioned ceremony is known as a "sic transit gloria mundi," named after the master of ceremonies' words.[failed verification][3][4][5]

A form of the phrase appeared in Thomas à Kempis's 1418 work The Imitation of Christ: "O quam cito transit gloria mundi" ("How quickly the glory of the world passes away").[6][7]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The phrase was used to comic effect in a scene in the 1998 film Rushmore, "Sic transit gloria... Glory fades" delivered by Max Fischer, the film's protagonist.
  • The phrase was also the title of the first season finale of the drama series Yellowjackets.
  • The phrase was used in The Masque of the Red Death (1964), delivered by the Red Death.
  • In A Canticle for Leibowitz, as nuclear armageddon is breaking, one of the monks mutters, "Sic transit mundus," or "So passes the world" prior to departing Earth.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elizabeth Knowles, ed. (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-860981-0.
  2. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Papal Coronation 07 -Sic transit gloria mundi" – via www.youtube.com.
  3. ^ King, William Henry Francis (1904), Classical and Foreign Quotations, London: J. Whitaker & Sons, p. 319, retrieved November 10, 2010
  4. ^ Richardson, Carol M., Reclaiming Rome: cardinals in the fifteenth century, p. 393, retrieved November 10, 2010
  5. ^ Bak, János M., Coronations: medieval and early modern monarchic ritual, p. 187, retrieved November 10, 2010
  6. ^ Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (via Oxford Reference)
  7. ^ à Kempis, Thomas. "Book 1 Chapter 3". Imitation of Christ: translated from Latin into English. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 11 November 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sic transit gloria mundi at Wikimedia Commons