What is a Pallium in the Catholic Church?

What is a Pallium in the Catholic Church?

The pallia are woollen scarves worn around the neck on top of the Mass vestments of Metropolitan Archbishops. They are a circular band about two inches wide, worn about the neck, breast, and shoulders, and having two pendants, one hanging down in front and one behind.

They are decorated with six small black crosses — one each on the breast and back, one on each shoulder, and one on each pendant. The crosses on the breast, back, and left shoulder are provided with a loop for the reception of a gold pin set with a precious stone as a reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The use of the pallium is reserved to the Pope and Metropolitan Archbishops. Worn by the Pope, the pallium symbolises the plenitude of pontifical office; worn by Archbishops, it signifies their participation in the supreme pastoral power of the Pope, who concedes it to them for their proper Church provinces.

Its use can be traced back to the 4th century where Pope Marcus (336) conferred the pallium on the bishop of Ostia

The Imposition of the Pallium on the Archbishop

Pallium is the symbol of a special relationship with the Pope and expresses besides the power, that, in communion with the Church of Rome, the metropolitan acquires by right in his own jurisdiction.The rite of Installing the pallium on the Archbishop is done by Papal Nuncio.