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Rome Reports

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Copy of John Paul II's famous Jubilee vestment displayed in Rome

It's been 20 years since Pope John Paul II inaugurated the Great Jubilee Year to usher in the third millennium. Perhaps even more than his words that day, it was his brilliant cloak that struck the world.

Today, a replica of the vestment, known as a cope, can be found in this showroom, a stone's throw from St. Peter's Basilica. It's called X Regio, whose three-man team was also responsible for making the original garment.

X Regio Showroom, Rome
“[The colors] were combined with a pattern which recalls the door of salvation, thrown open. It is the image of the Holy Door the pope was about to open toward eternity, represented by the color gold. It's inside a universe, ours, within the cosmos, represented by the color blue. It's a door to salvation, opened by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The two red marks symbolize His blood.”

They had to use their imaginations, since very few concrete instructions were given for the garment. In addition to using Christian iconography, the designer chose to incorporate aspects of John Paul II's own life into the cope.

X Regio Showroom, Rome
“It is the experience of a pope who had already lived through a lot. This allowed him, after many years of his pontificate, to travel around the world several times, to meet people and nations from every corner of the globe. So all the richness of his pilgrimages, announcing the Gospel, was captured by the cope's resplendent colors.”

X Regio's designer and two tailors, located in Venice, painstakingly worked out every last stitch, by hand, to produce this impressive garment. 

Although they've provided vestments for other clergy, including Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, it seems none has been as significant as the one for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.

X Regio Showroom, Rome
“As far as we know, this is the only vestment in recent times that's been worn once, and only once, in the liturgical history of the Roman Curia. It was worn for a sensational event, by a sensational pope, who is now a saint, and whose 100th birth anniversary we celebrate this year.”

In fact, Pope Francis wore an entirely different cope for the opening of the Holy Door for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, on Dec. 8, 2015. His was plainly adorned, more in line with his taste for simple and practical fashion.

Claudia Torres