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St. Pope John Paul II visit to Santiago, 1989 - What is the staff in this photo?


New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2022
Does anyone have any information about the cane that JPII is holding in this photo. There is a photo just like it in the Cathedral Museum. Of particular interest to us are the animal heads on the handle. What type of animal are they, and what do they symbolize? Thanks, Buen Camino.
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The staff is a bishop’s staff or archbishop’s staff like the ones used in the Middle Ages, for example in the 11th century. The animal heads are lion heads. The lion is a frequently used symbol in Christian art and iconography, and its use can be symbolic as well as decorative.

It should be easy to spot the original model for this staff in Santiago … ☺️.
I’ve been trying to find the context of this photo. It was taken in Santiago during Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1989. Apparently he wore this outfit - staff and cape with shells - during a short 100 metre long symbolic pilgrimage to the Cathedral.

Here is RTVE video clip with the relevant images:
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