Well now, this is something new (at least to me). I wonder if anyone has tried it lately:
Every year, almost five million Christians make pilgrimage to the Vatican to celebrate and grow in their faith, and to see the many sites rich in the history of the Church. Visitors might expect to see the Vatican museums, the legendary frescoes of the Sistine chapel, or Saint Peter’s Basilica. However, there is one site any visitor would probably never think they would see – a horse. While it may sound strange, its a possibility thanks to a little-known obscure rule allowing for certain people to ride horses within Saint Peter’s Basilica.
The rule is a special privilege given only to the members of three specific papal orders of knighthood, special orders of knighthood bestowed in the name of the Pope through his authority as the head of the Holy See and sovereign of the Vatican City State.
Of the current five papal orders of knighthood currently awarded directly by the Holy See, only two are given the privilege. These two orders are the The Papal Order of Saint Sylvester and the Papal Order of Saint Gregory the Great. A Pope can award the honor to any Catholic, clergy or laity.
While completely honorific, members of the Order of Saint Sylvester are given two special privileges: a special decorated uniform to wear including a saber, and the ability to enter any church on horseback – specifically Saint Peters’ Basilica. The same privileges are afforded to any member of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great.
Read on. Somehow, I don’t think the cleaning staff at St. Peter’s would appreciate this.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?