Juan de Valdés Leal, Finis gloriae mundi (1672). Seville, Hospital de la Caridad

Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means "Thus passes the worldly glory." In idiomatic contexts, the phrase has been used to mean "fame is fleeting".[1][2]

The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409 (when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V)[3] and 1963. As the newly chosen pope proceeded from the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica in his sedia gestatoria, the procession stopped three times. On each occasion, a papal master of ceremonies would fall to his knees before the pope, holding a silver or brass reed, bearing a tow of smoldering flax. For three times in succession, as the cloth burned away, he would say in a loud and mournful voice, "Pater Sancte, sic transit gloria mundi!" ("Holy Father, so passes worldly glory!").[4] These words, thus addressed to the pope, served as a reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honours.[5][6][7]

A form of the phrase appeared in Thomas à Kempis's 1418 work The Imitation of Christ: "O quam cito transit gloria mundi" ("How quickly the glory of the world passes away").[8][9]

In literature and art

See also


  1. ^ Merton, Sophia (2022-10-07). "'Sic Transit Gloria Mundi': Definition, Meaning, and Examples". Writing Tips. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  2. ^ "30 Latin Phrases Everyone Should Know – Page 6 – 24/7 Wall St". Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  3. ^ Elizabeth Knowles, ed. (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-860981-0.
  4. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Papal Coronation 07 -Sic transit gloria mundi" – via www.youtube.com.
  5. ^ King, William Henry Francis (1904), Classical and Foreign Quotations, London: J. Whitaker & Sons, p. 319, retrieved November 10, 2010
  6. ^ Richardson, Carol M. (2009), Reclaiming Rome: cardinals in the fifteenth century, BRILL, p. 393, ISBN 978-9004171831, retrieved November 10, 2010
  7. ^ Bak, János M. (January 1990), Coronations: medieval and early modern monarchic ritual, University of California Press, p. 187, ISBN 9780520066779, retrieved November 10, 2010
  8. ^ Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (via Oxford Reference)
  9. ^ à Kempis, Thomas. "Book 1 Chapter 3". Imitation of Christ: translated from Latin into English. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi — an early poem by Emily Dickinson (1852)". Literary Ladies Guide. 2020-12-29. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  11. ^ Dickinson, Emily (1998). The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Harvard University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-674-67622-0.
  12. ^ "The Sailors Progress: Sic transit gloria Mundi". metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  13. ^ "The Sailors Progress. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi". philamuseum.org. Retrieved 2022-10-17.

Media related to Sic transit gloria mundi at Wikimedia Commons