Ring of the Fisherman


Ring of the Fisherman

to seal official documents signed by the Pope.

A new ring is cast in gold for each Pope. Around the relief image is the reigning Pope's Latin name in raised lettering. During the ceremony of a Papal Coronation or Papal Inauguration, the Dean of the College of Cardinals slips the ring on the third finger of the new Pope's right hand. Upon a papal death, the ring is ceremonially crushed in the presence of other cardinals by the Camerlengo, in order to prevent the sealing of backdated, forged documents during the interregnum, or "sede vacante".

A letter written by Pope Clement IV to his nephew Peter Grossi in 1265 includes the earliest known mention of the Ring of the Fisherman, used for sealing all private correspondence by pressing the ring into red sealing wax melted onto a folded piece of paper or envelope. Public documents, by contrast, were sealed by pressing the papal seal into lead which was attached to the document. Such documents were historically called papal bulls, named after the stamped "bulla" of lead. Use of the Fisherman's Ring changed during the 15th century when it was used to seal official documents called papal briefs. That practice ended in 1842, when the wax with its guard of silk and the impression of the ring was replaced by a stamp which affixed the same device in red ink.

Through the centuries, the Fisherman's Ring did not become known for its practical use but by its feudal symbolism. Borrowing from the traditions developed by medieval monarchs, followers showed respect to the reigning Pope by kneeling at his feet and kissing the Fisherman's Ring. The tradition continues to this day.

External links

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13060a.htm "Catholic Encyclopedia":] The Ring of the Fisherman
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03052b.htm "Catholic Encyclopedia":] Bulls and briefs


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ring of the fisherman — a gold papal seal used on documents and placed on the new pope s finger by the cardinal camerlengo. It has a representation of St. Peter fishing in a boat with the new pope s name around it …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • Ring of the Fisherman, The — • Ring worn by the popes, with a representation of St. Peter in a boat on it Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Fisherman, The Ring of the — • Ring worn by the popes, with a representation of St. Peter in a boat on it Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Ring of Fisherman —     The Ring of the Fisherman     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Ring of the Fisherman     The earliest mention of the Fisherman s ring worn by the popes is in a letter of Clement IV written in 1265 to his nephew, Peter Grossi. The writer states… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Ring — /ring/, n. a male given name. * * * I Circular band of gold, silver, or other precious or decorative material usually worn on the finger, but sometimes on the toes, the ears, or the nose. The earliest examples were found in the tombs of ancient… …   Universalium

  • ring — ring1 ringless, adj. ringlike, adj. /ring/, n., v., ringed, ringing. n. 1. a typically circular band of metal or other durable material, esp. one of gold or other precious metal, often set with gems, for wearing on the finger as an ornament, a… …   Universalium

  • Ring (jewellery) — A finger ring is a band worn as a type of ornamental jewellery around a finger; it is the most common current meaning of the word . Other types of metal bands worn as ornaments are also called rings , such as arm rings and neck rings.Rings are… …   Wikipedia

  • The Fish and the Ring — is an English fairy tale collected by Joseph Jacobs in English Fairy Tales . This tale has has several parallels in the literature and folklore of various cultures.ynopsisA baron who was a magician learned that his son was fated to marry a girl… …   Wikipedia

  • The opera corpus — is a list of nearly 2,500 works by more than 775 individual opera composers. Some of the works listed below are still being performed today   but many are not. The principal works of the major composers are given as well as those of historical… …   Wikipedia

  • The Birds (film) — The Birds Theatrical release poster Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Produced by …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.