Papal Piety — Weekly Feature #327

In 1956 the Panama Post Office printed a set of 12 stamps showing the Popes who had taken the name Pius. At the time Pope Pius XII was still alive and that might be the reason why these stamps were never issued.
The stamps were printed in 2 panes of 50 stamps on a sheet of 100 with a horizontal gutter between.  Scott Catalogue mentions these as a footnote after #403 and gives a value of $100 for the set. We recently acquired full sheets of 100 and can offer gutter blocks, singles or blocks of four.

Pius IPius I
– 10th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, likely serving from 140-154.
– Little is known about him — it is thought that he was born in Aquileia, in Italy, and to have built Santa Pudenziana, one of the oldest churches in Rome, where some believe he was martyred.




PIus IIPius II
– Pope from 1458-1464
– Most famous for his work Commentaries, which is the only autobiography ever written by a reigning Pope. He was also admired as a poet amongst his contemporaries.




Pius IIIPius III
– Pope for only 26 days, from September 22 to October 18, 1503
– Though most scholars believe he died of an ulcer, some argue that his pontificate was short lived as he was poisoned by Pandolfo Petrucci, governor of the Italian province of Siena.




Pius IVPius IV
– Pope from 1559-1565
– He is remembered mostly for having invested great sums in re-building and fortifying various parts of the Papal States, but he was not universally admired; a conspiracy by a Catholic fanatic and son of a cardinal ousted by Pius III was discovered in 1565.




Pius VPius V
– Pope from 1566-1572, he succeeded Pius IV
– A holder of the office of Inquisitor, he was involved in a variety of aspects of the Inquisition.
– Issued the famous Papal Bull of 1570 that declared Elizabeth I a heretic and released her subjects from their allegiance to her.
– He was the first Pope to wear the white robes of his Dominican habit, a tradition that continues to today. Prior to Pius V, Popes, like Cardinals, wore red.



Pius VIPius VI
– Pope from 1775-1799, elected after a four month conclave
– He was mistrusted by many in the Church, and was known to be bad-tempered and to resort of unsavory means of obtaining money both to finance an extravagant lifestyle and to meet the demands of his family.
– As a sign of his unpopularity, upon the breakout of the French Revolution, the citizens of Avignon dismissed the papal offices, declared themselves French citizens, and burned the Pope in effigy.



Pius VIIPius VII
– Pope from 1800-1823, succeeding Pius VI
– His coronation was unusual in that he wore a papier-mache papal tiara, after the original was seized by French troops in 1798.
– In continual conflict with Napoleon, he was held in captivity by Bonaparte for over six years.




– Pope from 1829-1830
– Long having suffered from poor health, his papacy was short-lived, and he was able to do little but sign documents prepared by Cardinal Albani, who virtually ruled the Papal States.
– Like his predecessor Pius III, conspiracies abound that his death was hastened by poison.




Pius IXPius IX
– Pope from 1846-1878, he is thought to be the longest-serving pope since the Apostle St. Peter.
– Originally elected as a representative of the Church’s liberal wing, the possibility of his election concerned many, though he grew more conservative over the course of his papacy.
– Generally viewed as kind-hearted and generous, he was not without controversy — the burial procession upon his death was interrupted by a mob of Italian nationalists, who attempted to seize his body and throw it into the Tiber River.



Pius XPius X
– Pope from 1903-1914, he was the first Pope since the Counter-Reformation of Pope Pius V (1566-72) to be canonized.
– He held strong conservative positions throughout his papacy, speaking out strongly against what he viewed as the threats of modernism, socialism, and relativism.




Pius XIPius XI
– Pope from 1922-1939, he is most famous from his efforts to promote religious values in all areas of life, and for continuing the political transition of papal support for democratic movements over the 19th century inclinations towards monarchy.
– Rumors surrounding his death persist, but are not widely believed. As Pius XI was scheduled to give a strong speech condemning fascism , it was surmised in the diary of a French Cardinal that Pius was in fact poisoned by one of the Vatican’s doctors, whose daughter was the mistress of Mussolini.




Pius XIIPius XII
– Pope from 1939-1958, the last Pope to use the name of Pius
– As Pope through WWII, he was a strong proponent of leniency towards conquered nations and was a staunch opponent of communism. He was praised throughout the war as a strong opponent of totalitarianism.
– His role during the war remains the subject of controversy, and his relationship with the leaders of Nazi Germany remains the subject of debate.



This feature is for a fresh, never hinged set of singles for CDN$85. It can be ordered from our internet store at this link.