Order of Saint Sylvester
Papal order of knighthood, known prior to 1841 as the Militia of the Golden Spur or Golden Militia.
It was placed under the patronage of Saint Sylvester by Pope Gregory XVI, who checked the lavish bestowal of decorations which was causing the prestige of the order to diminish, and divided it into two classes, commanders, and knights.
By the regulations issued by Pope Pius X on 9 February 1905, the order was divided into:
The classes were increased to three:
- the Order of Saint Sylvester
- Order of the Golden Militia or Golden Spur
The present decoration consists of a gold cross with a white enameled surface in whose center is the image of Saint Sylvester P.M., encircled by the inscription Sanc Sylvester P.M. in letters of gold on blue enamel; the reverse side of the medal bears the pontifical emblem with the dates MDCCCXXXXI and MDCCCCV, the former dating the Gregorian restoration, the latter its renovation by Pope Pius X.
The ribbon of the decoration is black silk bordered with red.
The cross of the order attached to a silver star comprises the decoration.
The official costume is a black coat ornamented with one row of gilt buttons, black velvet, gold-embroidered collar and cuffs, black gold-striped trousers, a bicornered silk hat with a cockade of the papal colors to which is added a white plume when worn by a grand cross knight, a black plume when worn by a commander, and a sword.
Knights Grand Cross wear the largest cross suspended from the right, and the badge on the left side of the breast; Commanders wear a smaller cross around the neck; and Knights wear a still smaller cross on the left breast of the tunic.
- Knights Grand Cross
New Catholic Dictionary