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Q&A

Why does the Pope wear white?

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Pope Pius V, formerly known as Antonio Ghislieri, was the 224th pope and took on the name when he was elected in 1566. Despite being pope, he continued to wear the white robes of the Dominican Order of Preachers, also known as the Order of Saint Dominic, as a sign of humility and affection for the order.

According to tradition, the pope’s white robes symbolize the purity and holiness of life, while the red accessories represent the blood of Christ and his sacrifice.

The first papal ceremony involving specific papal robes was prepared for Pope Gregory X in 1272, and the precise regulations were codified in the 1400s by Agostino Patrizi Piccolomini and John Burchard. Pope Pius V is also known for his involvement in the Counter-Reformation and for his role in the establishment of the feast of “Our Lady of Victory,” later known as the feast of the “Holy Rosary,” following the Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

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