Papal Lateran Cross

Papal Lateran Cross
Pontificia Croce Lateranense

Obverse and reverse of the medal
Awarded by Vatican City The Holy See
Type Three degree medal (Gold, Silver, and Bronze)[1]
Eligibility Practicing Roman Catholics
Awarded for Merit
Status Obsolete
Established February 18, 1903[2]
Last awarded 1977[2]
Next (higher) Benemerenti Medal
Equivalent Jerusalem Pilgrim's Cross


The Papal Lateran Cross (Italian: Pontificia Croce Lateranense) is a medal for recognition of merit bestowed by the Holy See.


The Lateran Cross was commissioned by Pope Leo XIII, and instituted on February 18, 1903. The distinction was created as a recognition of merit, and is named in honor of the Basilica of St. John in Lateran in Rome. Initially, it was awarded for donations regarding the restoration of the Lateran Basilica.[2]

The distribution of the award was continued after the completion of the restoration process. Paul VI ended the awarding of the Lateran Cross in 1977.[2]


The decoration consists of a Greek cross displaying the image of St. John the Evangelist on the right, St. John the Baptist on the left, St. Peter at top, and St. Paul at the bottom. Christ the Redeemer is displayed at the center of the cross. The reverse side of the cross is engraved with the names, in Latin, of each saint depicted (Joanes, Batis, Petrus, Paulus), as well as the symbol of Christ (P and X inside a circle).

A button located above the cross is inscribed with the phrase: Sacrosancta lateranensis ecclesia - omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput (The sacred and holy church of the Lateran - the mother and the head of all of the churches of the city and the world).

The medal has been crafted in a number of designs: with or without an adjoining circle, as well as a solid medal with a cross in relief.[2] The accompanying ribbon is red with blue stripes along the sides.


Notable individuals who received this honor include:


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