Papal Insignia, St Patrick’s Basilica, Fremantle, Western Australia


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Papal Insignia, St Patrick’s Basilica, Fremantle, Western Australia


architect, architecture, basilica, Benedict XI (1303-1304), Boniface VIII (1294-1303), Catholic, Catholic Church, church, church building, Clement V (1305-1314), ecclesiastical heraldry, emblem, Federation Gothic Style, Fremantle, gothic architecture, gothic revival, heraldry, insignia, masonry, Michael Cavanagh, minor basilica, missionaries, neo-gothic, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, papal insignia, papal keys, papal tiara, Sydney freestone, Thomas Ryan OMI, three-tiered tiara, triple-crowned tiara, Vatican, Western Australia, WA


An image of the papal insignia consisting of a three-tiered tiara and keys at the entrance of St Patrick’s Basilica in Fremantle, Western Australia. The Vatican recognised St Patrick’s as a minor basilica in 1994. The tiara and keys are exclusive symbols of the papacy in ecclesiastical heraldry. The tiara represents the extra-liturgical headpiece worn by the Pope. While the origins of a distinct papal head-dress are debated, the evolution of the three tiers can be dated to the medieval period. Mitres adorned with a crown appear in artwork from the thirteenth century, and Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) added a second crown to his tiara to represent his temporal and spiritual power. A triple-crowned tiara is mentioned in an inventory of the Papal Treasury from 1315, suggesting that the third crown was added by either Benedict XI (1303-4) or Clement V (1305-1314). The use of keys to symbolise papal authority also dates from the thirteenth century. For more information, see Bruno Bernard Heim, Heraldry in the Catholic Church: Its Origins, Customs and Laws, (Van Duren, Gerard’s Cross, 1978), pp. 49-55.

About St Patrick’s Basilica:

St Patrick’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church located in Fremantle, Western Australia. The church was commissioned by Thomas Ryan OMI as a place of worship for Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who had arrived in Fremantle in 1894 as missionaries. It was designed by architect Michael Cavanagh and constructed from local limestone and Sydney freestone in a Federation Gothic style. St Patrick’s was completed and consecrated in June 1900. A presbytery was also built on the site in 1916.


McEwan, Joanne


4 February 2011


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