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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January 2005, 16:05 GMT
Pope honours lambs with blessing
Pope blesses lambs
The lambs will be sheared for their wool
Most visitors granted an audience with Pope John Paul II maintain a respectful demeanour in the presence of the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Two small visitors to the Vatican on Friday just bleated.

Tucked in wicker baskets and adorned with flowers, two lambs were blessed by the Pope to mark the Feast of St Agnes.

Sheared wool from the white lambs, which bleated several times during the brief ceremony, will be used to make vestments for new archbishops.

New archbishops are given a pallium, a band of white wool decorated with black crosses, for use in special masses.

The blessing ceremony traditionally takes place on 21 January, the feast of third-century martyr St Agnes, who is often symbolised by a lamb.

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