The 20th century church of Santa Maria Liberatrice a Testaccio is crowned with the coat of arms of Pope St Pius X (r. 1903-14).
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, who was of humble birth (his father was a postman), adopted a coat of arms when he became Bishop of Mantua in 1884. The shield was made up of six-pointed star and an anchor cast into a stormy sea. When, in 1893, the Bishop of Mantua became Patriarch of Venice, he added a winged lion, the symbol of St Mark the Evangelist. Sporting a halo, the lion wields a sword in one paw. He is accompanied by a book, which is open to reveal the words: PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS (Peace be with you, Mark my Evangelist).
Pius X was canonised by Pius XII (r. 1939-58) on May 29th 1954, the first pope to be canonised since Pius V (r. 1566-72) in 1712.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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