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Archbishop Martin was in Rome to receive the Pallium on 29th June 2004
Hi Holiness Pope John Paul II gave the pallium on Tuesday, June 29th 2004 solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, to 44 metropolitan archbishops in St. Peter's Square. Included among them was Dublin's new Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The Pallium is a strip of cloth that has historical roots in the attire of Roman emperors and symbolizes the pope's concession of authority and communion to heads of major local churches. Starting in 1984, the Polish pontiff was the first to personally consign the pallium annually to all new archbishops -- a task his predecessors since the fourth century regularly had delegated. He also fixed the date for bestowing palliums to June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and, for the first time in church history, incorporated the ceremony into the celebration of the Mass. He enacted the changes to increase the pallium's impact as a physical sign of the ties among the pope, St. Peter and the local churches, according to a Vatican official. In its present Western form, dating back several hundred years, the pallium is a circular strip of hand-woven white wool nearly three inches wide, with two 14-inch "tails" hanging front and back. It is decorated with six black silk crosses, four of which have loops to hold long pins that often are topped with a precious stone.