(PIUS IX, Blessed Pope) (1792-1878)
Born Giovanni Mastai-Ferretti. Named archbishop of Spoleto at the age of 35. Pope from 1846-78. He was, at the time, the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years. During his pontificate, Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council (1867-70), which decreed papal infallibility. Unfortunately, the Council was cut short owning to the loss of the Papal States.
D – Document: stunning parchment papal breve in the name of Pius IX dated 31 December 1872. Signed on behalf of the pope by Cardinal Fabio Maria Asquini, Secretary of Apostolic Briefs (created a cardinal in 1845). Issued to Baron Jules Alexis des Michels. In a remarkably fine state of conservation — one of the nicest such briefs we have ever offered. Appears to be the granting of papal insignia and instructions for wearing same.
DES MICHELS (1836-1913) French diplomat, ambassador and director of Western Railways and Societe Generale des Railways Economiques.