Papal Lateran Cross, in Gold (with gold)
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This Cross was founded by Pope Leo XIII and was named after the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.
The Cross was initially awarded to men and women who had contributed funds and services in support of the restoration of the Basilica. The grade of cross awarded to a recipient directly correlated with the size of their donation to the Church; the largest contributions received a Gold Cross, and so forth.
It continued to be awarded after the Basilica had been renovated, but thereafter it was conferred upon men and women for meritorious service that benefited the Holy See.
There are two main versions of the Cross.
The first version features a solid cross with the portraits of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist, and St. John the Baptist on the ends of the cross arms, and the portrait of Jesus in the centre of the cross. The reverse of this version features the inscription “SACROSANCTA LATERANENSIS ECCLESIA OMNIUM URBIS ET ORBIS ECCLESIARUM MATER ET CAPUT.”
The second version features a cross with the arms linked by a circle. It also has the portraits of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist, and St. John the Baptist on the ends of the cross arms, and the portrait of Jesus in the centre of the cross, but adds the Latin name of each Saint and Jesus to the reverse of the cross. This version also adds an oval suspension to the cross with the obverse inscription “SACROSANCTA LATERANENSIS ECCLESIA” and the reverse inscription “OMNIUM URBIS ET ORBIS ECCLESIARUM MATER ET CAPUT.”
Pope Paul VI banned any further conferrals of the Cross in 1977, thus making it an obsolete award.
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