Rose, the Golden

Rose, The Golden (Rosa aurea), a rose made of gold and consecrated by the pope, which is presented to such princes as have rendered special service to the Church, or as may be expected to promote its interests, though it is sometimes given also to cities and churches. The essential parts of the rose are gold, incense, and balsam, signifying the threefold substance of Christ — Deity, body, and soul; and its color denotes purity, its scent attractiveness, its taste the satisfying of desire. It is not known when the ceremony of consecrating the rose was introduced, though the time is commonly placed in the 11th century and in the pontificate of Leo IX, and it has become increasingly impressive with the progress of time. The day is always the fourth Sunday in Lent, which is consequently known also as "Rose Sunday" (Dominica de Rosa). The pope, clothed wholly in white, intones before the altar the Adjutorium nostrum and offers a prayer of consecration, after which he dips the rose in balsam and sprinkles it with balsam, dust, incense, and holy water. It is then placed on the altar, mass is said, and the benediction concludes the solemnity. When the rose is not conferred by the hand of the pope, it is always transmitted by special messenger, and accompanied with a letter from the pope. Its use as a symbol of joyous events has been continued in the Romish Church down to the present time. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. s.v.

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