In the below, the terms "Apostolic,"
"Pontifical," and "Patriarchal" may be used interchangeably.
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).
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."
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.
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]."
to an encyclical and written in a similar form. Typically more
pastoral in nature. Headed as given for an encyclical.
Decree or Decretal
legislative statement. Headed as given for an encyclical.
legislative statement or a direction. Headed as given for an encyclical.
formal response to a procedural enquiry. Headed as given for an encyclical.
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."
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."
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.
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.
Archpatral Rota: An ink seal usually in black accompanying the
signature of the Archfather on bulls, briefs, brevets, and other
Seal of the Deacon: An ink seal in red used on bulls, briefs,
brevets, and other similar documents.
Bull Seal: In silver wax, used for bulls, Patriarchal Constitutions,
and Apostolic Mandates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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