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The Papal Ring | The gilded silver ring of Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 13 March 2013, became the 266th pope of the Catholic Church, bishop of Rome, and 8th sovereign of the Vatican City, and he always wears the papal ring. He was born on December 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires and today represents the first pope to come from America. 

As is well known, the papal ring is not in gold but gilded silver. It depicted Peter with the keys and was made by the Romagna artist Enrico Manfrini two years before the death of Pope Paul VI, to whom he was destined. The pontiff would have liked it to be put on his finger to “present himself to the Divine Redeemer with this episcopal sign.” 

His history is full of charm, and its path is made of solemn moments that led him to the most important assignment of his life. Let’s find out who this famous person is and get to know him more closely to understand what the papal ring represents. Enjoy the reading!

Who is Pope Francis?

Pope Francis attended school diligently until he became a chemist. He kept himself on his own for a time, cleaning a factory and then working as a bouncer in a seedy club in Cordoba. Before embarking on pastoral life, he also had a girlfriend after leading the first phase of his life as a faithful municipality. On 11 March 1958, he decided to enter the seminary of Villa Devoto to begin his novitiate in the Society of Jesus.

Pope Francis is the head pope of the Catholic Church and is the 8th sovereign of the Vatican City. He was born into a family of Italian origin, specifically from Piedmont and Liguria. He was the eldest of five children. His father, Mathieu, was a railway official who, in 1928, decided to set sail from Genoa to seek his fortune in Buenos Aires. His mother, Queen Maria Sivori, was a housewife instead.

Therefore, he spent a period in Chile, returned to Buenos Aires, and graduated in philosophy in 1963. He has taught true psychology for three years at the colleges of Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. It was only in 1969 that he received priestly ordination with the laying on of hands by the archbishop of Cordoba, Ramon José Castellano. His career as a teacher appointment as father superior of Argentina led him to become the rector of the Faculty of Technology and Philosophy in San Miguel.

Representation of the papal ring

the papal ring


Among the most ancient traditions linked to the papal election, the “Fisherman’s Ring” deserves a special mention, probably dating back to the period between the years 1100/1200. This symbol returned to international prominence on April 24, 2005, worn by His Holiness Benedict XVI during the inauguration ceremony.

Every pope wears a papal ring. Pope Francis wear as well the Fisherman’s ring. The papal ring was probably adopted following the practice of giving all bishops a call. The first indications of episcopal circles date back to around 610. These were often paired with the pastoral as symbols of the episcopal office. And were often seen as a symbol of the bishop’s mystical marriage to his diocese. Thus, over the centuries, the ceremony of the delivery of the ring became a fixed part of the rite of episcopal ordination.

“The Fisherman’s Ring” or the “Papal Ring” (lat .: Annulus piscatorial) is officially part of the symbol of the pope. The Catholic Church identifies them as the successor of St. Peter, whose profession was that of a fisherman. The ring of the international fisherman is a seal used until 1842 to seal any official document drawn up by the pope and countersigned by him. The call, made of gold for each new pontiff, features a bas-relief of St. Peter fishing from a boat.

The tradition of the ring indeed derives from medieval monarchs. To whom the subjects showed respect and deference with the kiss of the ring. Through the centuries, however, the fisherman’s crew has had a concern that goes far beyond any trace derived from feudal symbolism, and the tradition continues even today.

The pope’s ring of the fisherman or piscatory is worth 1.30 mil €. It is one of the symbols the symbolic he receives during the solemn mass at the beginning of his pontificate and which he wears on the ring finger of his right hand.

The ring, which constitutes the seal of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, was made with thirty-five grams of gold and contained historical-artistic details. Architectural and iconographic symbols linked to Christianity. The oval on which the Apostle’s narration is unfolded takes the shape of St. Peter’s Square, which is the current home of the Pontiff. The exact form is reaffirmed in the underlying structure made in the shape of pods inspired by the Berninian colonnade.

When a pope passes away, what follows happens according to strict formal procedures that are well-regulated. The first things to do are to officialise the pope’s death and the removal and shattering of the Fisherman’s Ring, one of the symbols of the pope he receives during the solemn mass at the beginning of the pontificate, which he wears on the ring finger of his right hand. 

When a pope dies, the ring automatically melts on fire and is destroyed. No matter how expensive it is, the papal ring contains all the secrets of the Vatican. And it can not be handed over to anyone.

The task to shatter the papal ring is entrusted to Cardinal Camerlengo in the co-presence of the Chancellor of the Apostolic Chamber. After the rite, he beats the pope’s forehead three times with a gavel. Calling him by his first name, the chamberlain communicates the death to the cardinal vicar of Rome. After performing the extreme unction, with a particular notification, who proceeds to spread the news? The hammer tolling of the bells of San Pietro will follow.

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Seven things you may not know about the Papal Ring

The ring is one of the Pope’s badges within the Catholic Church. In this article, we want to share with you seven things you may not have known about the Pope’s Ring.

1) The name of the Papal Ring

The exact name is piscatorial or the Fisherman’s Ring. His word tells us that it can only be brought by the legitimate successor of St. Peter, who was a fisherman.

2) Its origin

The oldest known mention of the use of the Fisherman’s ring dates back to the 13th century and is collected in a letter that Pope Clement IV wrote to his cousin.

3) What is it used for

It is used essentially as a seal. Initially, the popes used it to seal all private correspondence, but now this use would not be efficient. Currently, the ring has taken on a more symbolic meaning than the authority of the Supreme Pontiff.

4) The design

With some exceptions, in all the rings that the popes used, you can see the image of St. Peter in the boat and the name of the Pope, who will wear it in the upper part.

5) Its elaboration

The fisherman’s ring is made of solid gold. When a Pope dies, the chamberlain declares, ” Vere Papa Mortuus est.” ( The Pope is genuinely dead “). And removes the ring from the corpse to melt it later and rework the call for the new pope.

6) What changed with the resignation of Benedict XVI

When Benedict XVI gave up, the ring was not cast but was marked with a cross, nullifying the possibility that it could be used.

7) What has changed with Francesco

Elected Pope Francis chose that his papal ring is made of gilded silver. So he became the first pope to wear a ring that did not belong to another pope. Also, he uses the Fisherman’s Ring only on certain occasions because he usually wears the ring he wore when he was still archbishop of Buenos Aires.

How did Pope Francis choose the papal name?

For the first time in the history of churchesReal-Life, it took the name of Francis. Before him, Pope Lando desired to use a new name never used before, except for John Paul I, who combined the terms of his two immediate predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.

Pope Francis explained to us how he chose the Papal name on the occasion of meeting with journalists in the Paul VI Hall. Pope Francis chose his papal name while thinking in his heart about Francis of Assisi. His words are: “In the election, I had the Archbishop Emeritus of Sao Paulo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes. When it got a little dangerous, he comforted me. When the votes have risen to two-thirds, the usual applause comes because the Pope has been elected. And he hugged me, kissed me and said: «Don’t forget the poor!». 

And that word entered here: the poor, the poor. Then, immediately, about the poor, I thought of  Francis of Assisi. Then, as the ballot went on, I thought about the wars up to all the votes. And Francis is the man of peace. And so, the name came into my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, who loves and guards creation; at this moment, we, too, have a relationship with a product that is not so good, right?” By choosing the name of the patron saint of Italy, he also wanted to strengthen the spiritual bond that unites him with our land.


Since becoming Pope, Jorge Mario has always shown a strong personality. He was placing himself in favour of the faithful and embracing causes that are, in many cases, uncomfortable. During the years of the dictatorship, he made a personal commitment to offer refuge. And also protection to the persecuted religious for their closeness to liberation theology. 

The Colegio Máximo of the Jesuits, of which he was the provincial father, became a central place of relief. With the excuse of spiritual exercises, the faithful were provided with a safe hiding place. And a covert way to leave the country. Today Pope Francis critically tackles many important issues from a social, moral, and political point of view. This is why some people always talk bad things about the Pope and his papal ring.

Pope Francis has a particular charisma on the faithful. With his simplicity, he manages to bring all the faithful closer to the church as few others have been able to. Tags, sacred images, books, and pictures, on Amazon, you can find numerous accessories inspired by the figure of Pope Francis!