Miniature Silver Cross
Image courtesy of eMedals.com
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This Cross was created by Pope Leo XIII to celebrate his golden sacerdotal jubilee. It was originally awarded to men and women who had served in, and promoted, the jubilee celebrations.
The Cross was initially awarded in two grades, Gold Cross and Silver Cross. The crosses awarded to men (32-33mm) were larger than the crosses awarded to women (26mm).
These awards continued to be awarded by the Pope as a sign of special recognition until October 1898, when the Cross was made a permanent Vatican honour. At this point, the Cross was officially amended to reward clergy and civil citizens for extraordinary service to the Catholic Church and the Roman Pontiff.
The size of the crosses was increased to 42-43mm at some point prior to 1908. During this time a Bronze Cross grade was also introduced, but the Bronze Cross was short-lived and eliminated in 1908 by Pope Pius X.
The modern cross was established by Pope Paul VI in 1971. He altered the design of the cross and reduced it to a single grade. It continues to be awarded to clerics and female and male laymen in recognition of their meritorious service to the Church.
The awards for female recipients are worn on a bow ribbon.
The Type I awards feature a cross with fleur-de-lys between the cross arms and the portrait of Pope Leo XIII on the obverse medallion.
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