Vatican City, Jul 14, 2008 / 12:34 pm
L’Osservatore Romano published an article last week explaining how Pope Pius VII decided in 1808 that the Vatican colors would be white and yellow. Historian Claudio Ceresa explained the history behind the Pope’s choice.
In an article entitled, “Two centuries of yellow and white as the papal colors,” Ceresa explained that in order to understand why the colors were chosen, one must consider the “occupation of the city by Napoleonic troops in February of 1808.”
“The commander of the French forces, General Miollis, posted notices on the walls informing that the Pope’s army would be incorporated into the imperial forces. Those officials who remained loyal to Pius VII were to be arrested and deported,” Ceresa explained. “Reaction was minimal because it was reported that the Pontiff was aware and did not resist. Only a small group of loyalists were deported to a prison in Mantova.”
“In order to underscore the unification, and probably to increase the situation of uncertainty as well,” Ceresa continued, “the papal soldiers were allowed to continue using the distinctive yellow-red colors on their hats.”