COMMON FORMS OF
PATRIARCHAL DOCUMENTS


Note: In the below, the terms "Apostolic," "Pontifical," and "Patriarchal" may be used interchangeably.

Apostolic Constitution

The highest level of legislative document in importance issued by the Archfather. It is issued with a bull seal (see below), the state seal in wax pendant from a red ribbon, and the Seal of the Deacon, and also bears the archpatral coat of arms. It is headed in the same manner as a bull (see below).

Apostolic Bulls

A bull refers to the general form of the document, and it can pertain to many legislative topics. It is issued with a bull seal (silver in colour, with an image of St. Stephen on the front and the name of the Archfather on the reverse), pendant from threads of red and yellow, and the Seal of the Deacon in ink on the front, and also bears the archpatral coat of arms. It is headed as "[Name] [Dynastic Numeral] Episcopus Servus Servorum Christi."

Apostolic Mandates

A form of bull specifically for the authorisation to consecrate a bishop or bless an Abbot, and for episcopal and abbatial appointments. They are headed in the standard manner for a bull.

(Patriarchal/Archpatral/Apostolic) Encyclicals

Formal legislative or pastoral letters addressed to a specific person or group, or to the entirety of the faithful. They are headed "[Name] Papa [Dynastic Numeral]."

Apostolic Letter

Similar to an encyclical and written in a similar form. Typically more pastoral in nature. Headed as given for an encyclical.

Apostolic Decree or Decretal

A legislative statement. Headed as given for an encyclical.

Apostolic Motu Proprio

A legislative statement or a direction. Headed as given for an encyclical.

Apostolic Rescript

A formal response to a procedural enquiry. Headed as given for an encyclical.

Apostolic Major Brevet

A document conferring an office or privilege. They are issued for ordination at the order of Sub-Deacon and above, for appointments to the Anticamera Nobile and to certain curial offices, and for the Patriarchal Honours and heraldic grants. They are sealed with the Seal of the Deacon in ink, as well as other seals of the Curia, and have a large wax seal pendant from a ribbon usually red in colour. They are headed "Papa [Name] [Dynastic Numeral] Flor.Rom. Pont. Max."

Apostolic Minor Brevet

Smaller in size than a major brevet, it serves the same function. They are issued for ordination at the orders below Sub-Deacon and for appointments to the Seconda Anticamera and certain curial offices. They are sealed with the Seal of the Deacon in ink, as well as other seals of the Curia. They are headed "[Name] [Dynastic Numeral] Flor.-Rom. Pont. Max."

Apostolic Brief

A brief can fulfill the same purpose as a bull, major brevet, or minor brevet. It is written in the second person rather than the usual formulaic style of brevets. They are sealed with the Seal of the Deacon in ink and then folded unevenly in thirds and sealed in wax with the signet ring of the Archfather. They are headed in the standard manner for a bull.

Apostolic Letters Patent

For the conferral of titles within the nobility of the patriarchate. They consist of several pages of documents bound together in a cover with red, yellow, blue, and white threads and sealed with a large wax pendant seal, the Seal of the Deacon in ink, and various other curial seals, as well as a marca da bollo.


Seals and Stamps

1. Archpatral Rota: An ink seal usually in black accompanying the signature of the Archfather on bulls, briefs, brevets, and other similar documents.

2. Seal of the Deacon: An ink seal in red used on bulls, briefs, brevets, and other similar documents.

3. Bull Seal: In silver wax, used for bulls, Patriarchal Constitutions, and Apostolic Mandates.

4. Great Seal of the Stato Pontificio and Patriarchate: In wax, of the archpatral insignia. Used for Patriarchal Constitutions, major brevets, letters patent, and heraldic grants.

5. Dry Seal of the Patriarchate: An embossed seal containing the archpatral insignia and the text "Patriarchatvm Anglicavm - Sedes Sancti Stephani." Used on apostolic blessings, visas, letters patent, as well as optionally for other documents.

6. Stamp of the Stato Pontificio: Ink seal in red, comprising the archpatral insignia with the text "Stato Pontificio" around it. Used regularly on documents of the Roman State and Patriarchate pertaining specifically to state/secular affairs. It may also be used as a postal stamp of origin on envelopes and packaging.

7. Stamp of the Patriarchal Curia: Ink seal in purple, comprising the archpatral insignia alone. Used regularly on documents of the Roman State and Patriarchate, regardless of curial office. Also used to stamp a marca da bollo, such as on letters patent.

8. Stamp of the Imperial Vice Chancery of Italy: Ink seal in purple, comprising a doppeladler and the name of the Vice Chancery in Italian around it. Used primarily on letters patent, but optionally on any document of the Roman State and Patriarchate pertaining specifically to state/secular affairs.


 

 

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