“At 10.30 am today, during a ceremony in the Governorate of Vatican City State, the former commander of the Gendarmerie Corps, Domenico Giani, was awarded the title of Knight Grand Cross of the Pian Order, the highest honor reserved for the laity by the Holy See.

“The decoration was given to him on behalf of the Holy Father by His Eminence Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Secretary of the Governorate, Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, the new Commander of the Corps of the Gendarmerie, Gianluca Gauzzi Broccoletti, and the Deputy Commander, Davide Giulietti.

“During the ceremony, Cardinal Bertello expressed his appreciation for the work done by Domenico Giani and the gratitude of the Holy Father, the Governorate and the Secretariat of State, for the long years of faithful service to the Church and to the Successor of Peter.”

(JFL: This order of papal knighthood is also known as the Order of Pope Pius IX. The Ordine Piano (Pian Ordine) was originally founded by Pope Pius IV in 1560, fell into disuse and was re-established by Pope Pius IX in 1847. In November 1993, Pope John Paul allowed that it be also granted to women.)

Last evening, October 29, in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace, there was a presentation of a volume by Dominique Henneresse that is the first compendium of all decorations and honors given by the Holy See. The book, in French, is entitled “Orders and Decorations of the Holy See.”

In an interview with Vatican News, the volume was described by a specialist in phaleristics (JFL: the science devoted to the study and collecting of the insignia of orders of chivalry and of merit; medals and other decorations), Fabio Cassani Pironti, who underlined the choice of the cover image, the collar of the Pian Order, the highest honor of the Holy See at this time, “the only one that does not represent a cross” so that it also may be granted to heads of State and governments of countries of non-Christian religion.

He emphasized that the volume, “Ordres et décorations du Saint-Siège” is absolutely “the first work that collects all the decorations that have been granted by the Popes since the beginning of the second millennium” and “collects many medals that they had never been catalogued.” In fact, for chivalrous orders there are many publications but “for medals such a complete work had never been done, with 1900 images.”