Episcopal Ring

Episcopall Ring. In all times and in practically all peoples, the ring personified the symbol of authority, dignity and preeminence: it is for the hand what the crown is for the head. Similarly, the episcopal ring contains these characteristics, since it reflects the eminent authority, dignity, and preeminence of the prelate who wears it. Furthermore, he is also a symbol of the spiritual alliance that unites the Bishop with his Church; with effect, he carries it in the right hand (in the ring finger) because it is with this that he blesses his sheep. As a character of loyalty and as a symbol of his marriage to the Holy Church – of his fidelity to the Bride of Christ – he uses a ring. From ancient times the Church made this correlation. Saint Optate of Mileva (4th century), on the episcopal ring,

Summary

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  • 1 Composition
  • 2 Meaning
  • 3 History
  • 4 Source

Composition

It is a precious metal ring, with a gem, which is given to the bishops and mitred abbots, in the ceremony of their consecration and abbatial blessing, respectively. The ring has been known since antiquity as a sign of distinction and power, with the aim, in addition, of sealing and authenticating the documents emanating from the holder. The style of the episcopal ring has almost always been a very large, gold set stone ring.

Meaning

The Episcopal Ring: It means that we have assumed a nuptial commitment to the Church, to which we must be faithful until death. Every day that ring reminds us of the requirement of total fidelity. In all times and in practically all peoples, the ring personified the symbol of authority, dignity and preeminence: he is for the hand what is the crown for the head . Similarly, the episcopal ring contains these characteristics, since it reflects the eminent authority, dignity, and preeminence of the prelate who wears it. Furthermore, he is also a symbol of the spiritual alliance that unites the Bishop with his Church; with effect, he carries it in the right hand (in the ring finger) because it is with this that he blesses his sheep. As a character of loyalty and as a symbol of his marriage to the Holy Church – of his fidelity to the Bride of Christ – he uses a ring. From ancient times the Church made this correlation.Saint Optatus of Mileva ( 4th century ), on the episcopal ring, already wrote that its use by the Bishop served to recognize that he was the husband of the Church. Among the Bishops there is one who stands out for his mission and communication with the Holy Spirit: the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. To such an exalted prelate there is a very special ring: the so-called “Fisherman’s Ring”, which, in turn, also represents the Mission of the Supreme Pontiff, that is, the mission of being a fisher of men, and save them from death, with the Gospel network. It is what Benedict XVI taught us, in the homily in which he himself received the fisherman’s ring: “The Gospel net throws us out of the waters of death and leads us to the splendor of the light of God, in true life. This is precisely how it is in the mission of fishers of men. ”

History

The Episcopal ring is awarded as “an emblem of papal dignity or the sealing of secrets.” The ring is strictly speaking an episcopal ornament conferred in the rite of consecration, and which was commonly regarded as emblematic of the mystical espousal of the bishop of his church. In the 8th and 9th centuries in manuscripts of the Gregorian Sacramentary and in some early pontificals we find various formulas for the delivery of the ring. The Gregorian form, which survives deep down to the present day, is executed in these terms: “Receive the ring, that is, the seal of faith, so that you, yourself be adorned with impeccable faith, mayst keep immaculate the fidelity that you have committed to the wife of God, his holy Church

 

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