Saint Pius V: The Iconography
Portraits of this saint usually resemble the one at right: a thin but prominent nose, a longish white beard divided in the middle, a red mozzetta (shoulder cape), and a red camauro, a soft cap shaped as shown and lined in ermine. Sometimes he is shown in his liturgical vestments and tiara (second picture at right), but the camauro often serves as a sort of attribute.

The two achievements for which Pius V is most famous are his vigorous reform of the Church along the lines laid out by the Council of Trent and the formation with Venice and Spain of the Holy League, which defeated the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571.1 He is also remembered for promoting the Rosary prayer, for example in the second picture at right. After the victory at Lepanto he ordered that October 7 be commemorated as the Feast of the Holy Rosary.2

Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University


Detail from Ricci's Saints Pius V, Thomas Aquinas, and Peter Martyr (See description page)

Our Lady of the Rosary with Saints (See description page)

In El Greco's Adoration of the Name of Jesus the central figures in the lower half are the three members of the Holy League: Pius V, the Doge Alvise I Mocenigo, and Philip II of Spain (See the description page for the whole painting.)


  • 20th century: A panel in the "Institution of the Rosary" window in Munich's Frauenkirche.


  • Born 1504, died 1572
  • Elected Pope in 1565
  • Formerly the feast day was May 5.


  • Born Michael Ghislieri



1 Farmer, 363.

2 Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Feast of the Holy Rosary."