The Ring of the Fisherman

The Ring of the Fisherman is an official part of the Pope’s regalia. The pope, by tradition, is viewed to be the sucessor to St. Peter, who was, by trade before Jesus-ing a fisherman. Each ring is unique. Every time a pope dies, his ring is destroyed in the presence of the highest Cardinal. This is obviously to prevent forgeries or backdating of official documents. Each new pope has his own ring cast out of gold, and it is placed on the third finger of his right hand.

The first we hear of the Ring of the Fisherman is in 1256 when Clement IV mentions it in a letter to his nephew. It was used then to seal all private correspondence, where there was a different stamp that used lead to seal public documents. This continued until the 15th century, when it was then used to seal all documents of the Pope. In 1824, the use of the ring as a seal ended. The ring, even throughout history, was more of a symbol of the Pope than a practical seal. It is still customary to kiss the ring of the Pope when you meet him.

This is Benedict XVIs ring. Kiss it.

This is Benedict XVI's ring. Kiss it.

Published in: on July 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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