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Pope Paul VI with pileolus

Pileolus (from the Latin pileus or "hat" "hat"), even Zucchetto [dzukketto] , Soli Deo , Latin Subbirettum or Submitrale , German and skullcap , ancient dome is part of the Church's clothing in the Catholic Church , especially abbots , Bishops , cardinals and the Pope . Within the liturgy it is worn by these to the corresponding liturgical clothing under or instead of the miter or biret , as well as outside to the cassock .


The Pope , the Cardinals and the Apostolic Nuntii wear a pile of moiré , the pile of the other dignitaries are made of simple silk. Even religious men know a similar Pileolus the skullcap, originally the tonsure covered and has the color of the respective Ordensgewandung. Today it is often only worn by the abbots .

The colors of the caps correspond to the usual church color usage:

Outside the liturgy (unless special permission has been granted), the following may wear a skullcap:

During the prayer of Holy Mass and the exposure of the Holy of Holies , the pileolus is removed as a sign of devotion to the Holy of Holies . That is why the cap is also called Soli Deo , which means something like: "Only before God" (and before no one else) this hat is taken off. Since the Pope is regarded as the representative of Christ in the Catholic Church , it is also customary to remove the pileolus when greeting him.

The pileolus has nothing to do with the use of the Jewish kippah , it resembles it in terms of shape and the fact that it is clothing worn for religious reasons.

Historical development

As early as the Middle Ages, the pileolus was a small skullcap that covered the back of the head and ears and since the Baroque period in the 16th and 17th centuries has been reduced to the skull cap that is common today.

Bishops and other clerics who are entitled to use the pontificals often wear the pileolus under the miter , which explains the common name of the submitral . This custom can be documented for the first time in the course of the 14th century, as on the tomb of Clemens VI. in La Chaise-Dieu under the tiara a headgear in the shape of a pileolus is already depicted. This custom spread during the 15th century and became common practice in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The first award of the red pileolus to the cardinals, with the exception of those from orders whose members wear a habit , can be documented for the year 1464 in the pontificate of Paul II . Previously it was purple for the princes of the church , which also gave rise to the formulation that a cleric “is given the purple” if he is appointed cardinal. The red pileolus was first bestowed on cardinals from orders in 1591 by Gregory XIV . Since 1867 it is with a on Pius IX. The declining decree also allowed the bishops who previously wore green pileoli to wear purple pileoli, which quickly became generally accepted.


  • Joseph Braun SJ: The Liturgical Paraments in the past and present. A manual of paramentics , 2nd, improved edition, Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1924, p. 182.
  • Dieter Philippi The Philippi Collection - headgear in faith, religion and spirituality . St. Benno Verlag, Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-7462-2800-6 .
  • Christian Just: Art. Pileolus in: LThK , 2nd edition, vol. 8, Freiburg 1963, col. 507.

Web links

Commons : Zucchetto  - Collection of images, videos and audio files