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Rome Reports

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Pilgrims in medieval costumes organize spectacular welcome for the pope

This group received Pope Francis at his first General Audience after his trip to Africa.

The medieval art group stood in line to honor the pope, waving flags and playing drums as people did centuries ago.

The “Abanderados” are a group of flag-bearers and musicians from St. Rose, the diocese of Viterbo, in Italy.

“Flag-bearer” of St. Rose
“We were at the Audience with the Holy Father today. We were also in Rome on Jan. 6 to celebrate the Epiphany.”

“Flag-bearer” of St. Rose
“It has been a great privilege to honor the pope in the square. It has been a very meaningful experience.”

In addition to participating in parades and performances, they keep the unique Catholic tradition alive.

“Flag-bearer” of St. Rose
“Our group was formed years ago to honor St. Rose, patron saint of Viterbo, our city. We created this group in honor of Sept. 3. We have about 40 people in the group who are very passionate about the medievial art of flags and drums.”

This group formed at the end of the 14th century to announce periods of war, but this is not the case anymore. On this occasion, they were happy to welcome the pope who had just returned from Africa hours before.