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The Ring of the Fisherman
Fisherman
(Latin: Annulus Piscatoris; Italian: Anello Piscatorio), also known as the Piscatory Ring, is an official part of the regalia worn by the Pope, who is head of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
and successor of Saint Peter, who was a fisherman by trade. It used to feature a bas-relief of Peter fishing from a boat, a symbolism derived from the tradition that the apostles were "fishers of men" (Mark 1:17). The Fisherman's Ring is a signet used until 1842 to seal official documents signed by the Pope.[1]

Contents

1 History 2 Creation, transfer and destruction 3 Wear 4 References 5 External links

History[edit] A letter written by Pope
Pope
Clement IV to his nephew Pietro Grossi in 1265 includes the earliest known mention of the Ring of the Fisherman, which was used for sealing all the pope's private correspondence. Public documents, by contrast, were sealed by stamping a different papal seal onto lead which was attached to the document. Such documents were historically called papal bulls, named after the stamped bulla of lead.[2] 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 sealing wax was replaced by a stamp which affixed the same device in red ink. Through the centuries, the Fisherman's Ring came to be known for its feudal symbolism. Borrowing from the traditions developed by medieval monarchs, followers showed respect to the reigning Pope, who was considered "the emperor of the world", by kneeling at his feet and kissing the Fisherman's Ring. Creation, transfer and destruction[edit] A new ring is cast for each Pope
Pope
as a general practice in tradition. Around the relief image is the reigning Pope's Latin name. During the ceremony of a Papal coronation
Papal coronation
or Papal inauguration, the Cardinal camerlengo slips the ring on the ring finger of the new Pope's right hand.[3] In breaking with this tradition: "At the official introduction to his office, the classic ring [remained] in [its] case. It was passed to Pope
Pope
Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI
by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Cardinal Sodano. [The ring was designed by jeweller Claudio Franchi, who watched as Benedict placed the ring on himself.]"[4] Pope
Pope
Francis, far from following Benedict's lead, was bestowed his ring by Cardinal Sodano at his installation.[5] Upon a papal death, the ring used to be ceremonially destroyed using a hammer in the presence of other Cardinals by the Camerlengo. This was done to prevent issuance of forged documents during the interregnum, or sede vacante.[6] Today, the destruction of the ring's device with deep scratches is a symbol of the end of rule of the pope who used to wear that ring. This custom was followed after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI
by applying two deep cuts, in the shape of a cross, on the signet with a chisel.[7] Wear[edit] Although Pope
Pope
Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI
wore his Fisherman's Ring daily, it is no longer the custom for popes to wear it at all. Generally, a new pope will either inherit the daily-wear ring of his predecessor, keep an old ring of his own preference, or will choose a new daily-wear style. Pope
Pope
John Paul I usually wore a wide gold band similar in design to the mitre-shaped Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
ring; in imitation of this, Pope
Pope
John Paul II wore a wide gold crucifix shaped into a ring that had belonged to Pope
Pope
Paul VI. In former times, a special coronation ring was placed on the pope's finger, designed very large since it was worn over the pope's glove. That custom and the use of a coronation ring ended with Pope
Pope
Paul VI. Generally, popes of the past wore episcopal rings in keeping with the fashions of the time. Pope
Pope
Pius XII, for example, often wore a heavily ornate ring set with a stone. Pope
Pope
Pius IX most often wore a cameo of himself, made entirely of tiny diamonds, whilst Pope
Pope
Pius X wore a simple, smaller stone-set ring. In keeping with the modern spirit suggested by Pope
Pope
John XXIII and actually practiced in his later years by Pope
Pope
Paul VI, Pope
Pope
Francis wears a simple gold-plate silver ring only for papal ceremonies, preferring his small, silver ring from his days as a cardinal.[8] References[edit]

^ "Dictionary : RING OF THE FISHERMAN". Catholic Culture. Retrieved 2013-08-19.  ^ "Sammlung Philippi - The Piscatory Ring (Anulus piscatoris) of Pope Benedict XVI". Dieter-philippi.de. Retrieved 2013-08-19.  ^ Catholic Online. "The Ring of the Fisherman".  ^ Administrator. "Sammlung Philippi - The Piscatory Ring (Anulus piscatoris) of Pope
Pope
Benedict XVI".  ^ http://www.rcan.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/feature.display/feature_id/2886/index.cfm?CFID=8333862&CFTOKEN=72254101 ^ Brown, Stephen Rex (26 February 2013). " Pope
Pope
Benedict's signet ring will be destroyed using special silver ... hammer to ensure documents it was used to sign will not be forged". Retrieved 28 February 2013.  ^ "CNS STORY: Ring of retired Pope
Pope
Benedict no longer can be used as seal". Catholicnews.com. Archived from the original on 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-08-19.  ^ " Pope
Pope
Francis eschews tradition with silver ring". Capital News. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ring of the Fisherman.

 Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Ring of the Fisherman". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.   Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Bulls and Briefs". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.  The Piscatory Ring (Anulus piscatoris) of Pope
Pope
Benedict XVI.

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