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{Sunday, April 24, 2005  }

.:{The Ruby Slippers}:.

Pope Pius VII's traditional red velvet shoes

It seems the ruby slippers, the red shoes cooed over in this post, have been getting some attention lately (i.e. from The Curt Jester and Summa Mammas).

Some mention of the red shoes and their now-abolished Cardinalite usage is posted on the blog Romanitas, but the blog with the best name ever, The Secret Life of Shoes, gives some background on shoes in general and the papal red shoes in particular.

(on the other hand, a short-and-sweet-but-not-personally-researched-by-me answer relates to the Byzantiine emperors wearing red shoes as a sign of their office; I just stole that off of the Catholic Answers forum)

From the same site you can also find information on Gamarelli's, the pope's taylor, and cute pictures of zuchettos:

Although our late Pope John Paul II often wore brown loafers, there are still a few pictures with him wearing red shoes, such as here.

The New York Times also had an article about Gamirelli's the day before our late pope's funeral; along the same lines as the aforementioned kingship, the article says (and some Italian responds):

Each of the white cassocks - the pope is the only Roman Catholic bishop who wears all white - has some 30 buttonholes for handmade buttons and comes with the usual papal accessories: the short hooded scarlet cape called a mozzetta, worn over the robes; a white zucchetto, or skullcap; and red shoes.

Yes, red shoes.

"The pope is king, and the king can wear whatever shoes he likes," one of the Gammarelli tailors shouted out before tucking back into a piece of fabric.

Gotta love those Italians.
posted by Lauren, 5:04 PM


For the Holy Father's red shoes, cf. "Sandals" in "Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encylopedia" (1991, p. 865 f). Quote:
[Sandals] are the special ceremonial shoes which the Pope and other bishops formerly wore during Pontifical Solemn Masses. These "sandalia", formerly also called "campagi", were only used for the liturgy and were of the liturgical colour of the day, except black. They developed from the footwear worn by the Roman senators and other persons of high rank. ... The sandals were usually leather, soled with the upper part of the leather covered with silk. After the the thirteenth century it was normal for the upper part to be made solely of fabric, such as silk or damask which was often richly embroidered. While the earlier shape of the sandals was just that, with straps that were wound about the wearers' ankles, eventually they came to have the shape of slippers. ... When sandals are worn, they must still be worn over the ceremonial stockings or buskins. Unquote.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7:33 PM  

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