Papal Bull

A papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the lead seal (bulla) that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it.

Papal bulls were originally issued by the pope for many kinds of communication of a public nature, but by the thirteenth century, papal bulls were only used for the most formal or solemn of occasions.

From the twelfth century, papal bulls have carried a lead seal with the heads of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul on one side and the pope’s signature on the other.

Modern scholars have retroactively used the term "Bull" to describe any elaborate papal document issued in the form of a decree or privilege (solemn or simple), and to some less elaborate ones issued in the form of a letter. Popularly, the name is used for any papal document that contains a metal seal.

Papal bulls have been in use at least since the sixth century, but the term was not first used until around the middle of the thirteenth century and then only for internal un-official papal record keeping purposes; the term had become official by the fifteenth century, when one of the offices of the Papal chancery was named the "register of bulls" (registrum bullarum).

Today, the bull is the only written communication in which the Pope will refer to himself as episcopus servus servorum Dei, meaning "Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God." For instance, Benedict XVI, when he issues a decree in bull form, will begin the document with Benedictus, Episcopus, Servus Servorum Dei. While it used to always bear a metal seal, it now does so only on the most solemn occasions. It is today the most formal type of letters patent issued by the Vatican Chancery in the name of the Pope.

Read more about Papal Bull:  Format, Seal, Content

Other articles related to "papal bull, bull, papal, bulls, papal bulls":

Papal Bull - Content
... In terms of content, the bull is simply the format in which a decree of the Pope appears ... Any subject may be treated in a bull, and many were and are, including statutory decrees, episcopal appointments, dispensations, excommunications ... The bull was the exclusive letter format from the Vatican until the fourteenth century, when the papal brief began to appear ...
Talmudists - Criticism - Middle Ages
... This same Pablo Christiani made an attack on the Talmud that resulted in a papal bull against the Talmud and in the first censorship, which was undertaken ... In 1415, Pope Benedict XIII, who had convened the Tortosa disputation, issued a papal bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the ... in 1520 by Daniel Bomberg at Venice, under the protection of a papal privilege ...
Laudabiliter - Papal Bull
... A bull is a Papal letter that takes its name from the bubble-shaped, leaden seal which it bears ... sealed with any seal and are not correctly called bulls but rather privilegia or privileges ... The Pope and Ireland, notes that it was well known that the forgery of both Papal and other documents was fairly common in the 12th century ...
Antiracist - American Origins
... However, two Papal bulls announced several decades before that event to help ward off increasing Muslim invasions into Europe affected the New World ... white or any other race, pagans and other non-Christians in the papal bull Dum Diversas (1452) ... While this bull preceded the Atlantic slave trade by several decades, slavery and the slave trade were part of African societies and tribes which supplied the Arab world with slaves long before the arrival of the ...
Chronology Of Western Colonialism - 15th To 18th Century
... of slaves is brought to Lisbon (Portugal) 1452 Papal Bull Dum diversas allows enslavement of pagans 1455 Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex grants a trade. 1481 Papal Bull Aeterni regis 1482 The Portuguese build the Elmina Castle as the first trading point in Ghana 1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope for the Portuguese king ... of the Americas and of the Columbian Exchange 1493 Papal Bull Inter caetera on May 1494 ... Treaty of Tordesillas dividing the world outside of Europe in an exclusive duopoly between the ...

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