The Pontifical Orders

St Peter's, Rome

The Pontifical Orders are:

Admission to the Supreme Order of Christ, the Pontifical Order of the Golden Spur and the Collar of the Pontifical Order of Pius IX are reserved solely for reigning Sovereigns and Heads of State. They are very rarely bestowed and only then during significant state and official visits made to the Vatican City by foreign dignitaries or during a state, official or pastoral visit made by the Supreme Pontiff to a foreign country.

In modern times, British citizens have been generally made members of the Pontifical Orders of Saint Gregory the Great or Pope Saint Sylvester, with the other Orders being reserved for Sovereigns and Heads of State or high ranking government or diplomatic officials.