The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr (Latin: Ordo Sanctus Silvestri Papae, Italian: Ordine di San Silvestro Papa), sometimes referred to as the Sylvestrine Order or the Pontifical Order of Pope St Sylvester, is one of five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the Pope as Supreme Pontiff and head of the Catholic Church and as the Head of State of Vatican City.
It is intended to award Roman Catholic laymen who are actively involved in the life of the church, particularly as it is exemplified in the exercise of their professional duties and mastership of the different arts.
Awards of the Order are generally made on the recommendation of Diocesan Bishops, or of Apostolic Nuncios (nominations may be made by parish priests to their bishop for his consideration). Awards are also granted on recommendation of the Papal Secretary of State. Pope John Paul II extended membership in the Order to ladies as well as gentlemen.