What a wonderful picture last Saturday on Fr Zed's blog! A Macedonian legislator giving our Holy Father a Triregnum, a triple papal Tiara! Made by Orthodox nuns! Covered with fresh water pearls from the lake near their Convent! Long live the nuns! Long live the true (if wounded) Particular Churches of Macedonian Orthodoxy, Sister Churches of the Church of Rome! (Vide Dominus Iesus para 17; Communionis notio para 17.) Sadly, there are historical factors which mar the unity of the Macedonian Churches, not only with the See of S Peter, but also with other Orthodox Churches. May the Lord gather us all into unity.
If you google Rajcica, and Manastir Rajcica, you will find charming little videos of the Convent; the Sisters (who seem all to be young); the Church with its fantastic late Byzantine murals; its ikons; and its major relic of the hand of S George, its Titular, in a splendid slver reliquary. You will also be able to see the Sisters hard at work producing ... mitres! I mean, those Byzantine crown-shaped mitres which bishops of that rite wear. How fortunate Papa Bergoglio is to be able, now, at long last, to prove his ecumenical credentials by wearing headgear of authentic Byzantine provenance! And what can Bergoglio, what can we all, learn from this charming episode? This is how it seems to me:
We all need to be reminded (in that beautiful old phrase) to Become, to Be what we Are. To live, in God's Grace, the life of the Baptism which incorporated us into Christ; life in the power of the Holy Spirit which came upon us when we received the sphragis. And even the Bishop of Rome needs to be reminded to Be what he Is: the Bishop who builds up and expresses the unity of the Church Militant here on earth; the one whose particular task it is as a remora to repel any 'new doctrine' and to guard and faithfully to expound the Tradition he has received through the Apostles; the Deposit of the Faith.
Any Pope can only truly manifest his unique charism by being Pope in eodem sensu eademque sententia as his predecessors in so august an office. There can never be a 'new' papacy; only the office instituted of old by the Lord in Blessed Peter.
The Triregnum, in its gradually and organically evolved form, as reproduced by these nuns, is a beautiful piece of workmanship and a perfectly exquisite reminder of all those truths; basically, of all those continuities.
Realistically, it may be improbable that Pope Francis will ever wear it (it is a shame that he was not big and generous, human and humble enough a man, to pop it on his head for a tiny moment just for the official photographer; think of the simple but immense pleasure such an impulsive gesture would have given to the women who laboured upon it). But it will still be a gracious mark of respect to the admirable nuns and to the noble Churches of Macedonia if he has it sent to the Sacristies of S Peter's with instructions that it be set upon the head of the statue of S Peter (the seated one cast from the metal secured when they melted down Capitoline Juppiter) when his feast is celebrated later this month.
I wonder if that thought has occurred to Francis or to the circle that surrounds him.
Lux ex Oriente!