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The throne for Napoleon to preside over the Senate, an example of Empire furniture Trone de Napoleon 1er pour le Senat - Exposition Versailles.jpg
The throne for Napoleon to preside over the Senate, an example of Empire furniture
The thrones for the Canadian monarch (back left) and his or her royal consort (back right) in the Senate of Canada; these may also be occupied by the sovereign's representative, the governor general and his or her viceregal consort at the State Opening of Parliament (the speaker's chair is at centre) Canadian-Senate-thrones.jpg
The thrones for the Canadian monarch (back left) and his or her royal consort (back right) in the Senate of Canada; these may also be occupied by the sovereign's representative, the governor general and his or her viceregal consort at the State Opening of Parliament (the speaker's chair is at centre)

A throne is the seat of state of a potentate or dignitary, especially the seat occupied by a sovereign on state occasions; or the seat occupied by a pope or bishop on ceremonial occasions. [1] "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the throne". The expression "ascend (mount) the throne" takes its meaning from the steps leading up to the dais or platform, on which the throne is placed, being formerly comprised in the word's significance. [2]


When used in a political or governmental sense, throne typically refers to a civilization, nation, tribe, or other politically designated group that is organized or governed under an authoritarian system. Throughout much of human history societies have been governed under authoritarian systems, in particular dictatorial or autocratic systems, resulting in a wide variety of thrones that have been used by given heads of state. These have ranged from stools in places such as in Africa to ornate chairs and bench-like designs in Europe and Asia, respectively. Often, but not always, a throne is tied to a philosophical or religious ideology held by the nation or people in question, which serves a dual role in unifying the people under the reigning monarch and connecting the monarch upon the throne to his or her predecessors, who sat upon the throne previously. Accordingly, many thrones are typically held to have been constructed or fabricated out of rare or hard to find materials that may be valuable or important to the land in question. Depending on the size of the throne in question it may be large and ornately designed as an emplaced instrument of a nation's power, or it may be a symbolic chair with little or no precious materials incorporated into the design.

When used in a religious sense, throne can refer to one of two distinct uses. The first use derives from the practice in churches of having a bishop or higher-ranking religious official (archbishop, Pope, etc.) sit on a special chair which in church referred to by written sources as a "throne", or “Cathedra” (Latin for chair) and is intended to allow such high-ranking religious officials a place to sit in their place of worship. The other use for throne refers to a belief among many of the world's monotheistic and polytheistic religions that the deity or deities that they worship are seated on a throne. Such beliefs go back to ancient times, and can be seen in surviving artwork and texts which discuss the idea of ancient gods (such as the Twelve Olympians) seated on thrones. In the major Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Throne of God is attested to in religious scriptures and teachings, although the origin, nature, and idea of the Throne of God in these religions differs according to the given religious ideology practiced.

In the west, a throne is most identified as the seat upon which a person holding the title King, Queen, Emperor, or Empress sits in a nation using a monarchy political system, although there are a few exceptions, notably with regards to religious officials such as the Pope and bishops of various sects of the Christian faith. Changing geo-political tides have resulted in the collapse of several dictatorial and autocratic governments, which in turn have left a number of throne chairs empty. Many of these thrones - such as China's Dragon Throne - survive today as historic examples of nation's previous government.


Fanciful depiction of Solomon on his throne King Solomon on throne.jpg
Fanciful depiction of Solomon on his throne
Assyrian eunuchs carrying Sargon II's throne, detail of a wall relief from Khorsabad, Iraq Museum Assyrian eunuchs carrying Sargon II's throne.jpg
Assyrian eunuchs carrying Sargon II's throne, detail of a wall relief from Khorsabad, Iraq Museum

Thrones were found throughout the canon of ancient furniture. The depiction of monarchs and deities as seated on chairs is a common topos in the iconography of the Ancient Near East.

The word throne itself is from Greek θρόνος (thronos), "seat, chair", [3] in origin a derivation from the PIE root *dher- "to support" (also in dharma "post, sacrificial pole"). Early Greek Διὸς θρόνους (Dios thronous) [4] was a term for the "support of the heavens", i.e. the axis mundi, which term when Zeus became an anthropomorphic god was imagined as the "seat of Zeus". [5] In Ancient Greek, a "thronos" was a specific but ordinary type of chair with a footstool, a high status object but not necessarily with any connotations of power. The Achaeans (according to Homer) were known to place additional, empty thrones in the royal palaces and temples so that the gods could be seated when they wished to be. The most famous of these thrones was the throne of Apollo in Amyclae.

The Romans also had two types of thrones- one for the Emperor and one for the goddess Roma whose statues were seated upon thrones, which became centers of worship.

Hebrew Bible

The word "throne" in English translations of the Bible renders Hebrew כסאkissē'. The Pharaoh of the Exodus is described as sitting on a throne (Exodus 11:5, 12:29), but mostly the term refers to the throne of the kingdom of Israel, often called the "throne of David" or "throne of Solomon". The literal throne of Solomon is described in 1 Kings 10:18–20: "Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom." In the Book of Esther (5:3), the same word refers to the throne of the king of Persia.

The God of Israel himself is frequently described as sitting on a throne, referred to outside of the Bible as the Throne of God, in the Psalms, and in a vision Isaiah (6:1), and notably in Isaiah 66:1, YHWH says of himself "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool" (this verse is alluded to by Matthew 5:34-35).



Vision of John of Patmos from the Book of Revelation (4:4)--four seraphim surround the throne of Christ, twenty-four elders sit on thrones to either side (Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry) Saint John on Patmos.jpg
Vision of John of Patmos from the Book of Revelation (4:4)—four seraphim surround the throne of Christ, twenty-four elders sit on thrones to either side ( Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry )

In the New Testament, the angel Gabriel also refers to this throne in the Gospel of Luke (1:32–33): "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

Jesus promised his Apostles that they would sit upon "twelve thrones", judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). John's Revelation states: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away" (Revelation 20:11).

The Apostle Paul speaks of "thrones" in Colossians 1:16. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, in his work, De Coelesti Hierarchia (VI.7) interprets this as referring to one of the ranks of angels (corresponding to the Hebrew Arelim or Ophanim ). This concept was expanded upon by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica (I.108), wherein the thrones are concerned with carrying out divine justice.

In Medieval times the "Throne of Solomon" was associated with the Virgin Mary, who was depicted as the throne upon which Jesus sat. The ivory in the biblical description of the Throne of Solomon was interpreted as representing purity, the gold representing divinity, and the six steps of the throne stood for the six virtues. Psalm 45:9 was also interpreted as referring to the Virgin Mary, the entire Psalm describing a royal throne room.


Throne of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in the Phanar, Istanbul. On the dais the Gospel is enthroned on a curule chair, in front of it, lower down is the patriarch's throne. Patriarch of Constantinople throne.jpg
Throne of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in the Phanar, Istanbul. On the dais the Gospel is enthroned on a curule chair, in front of it, lower down is the patriarch's throne.

From ancient times, bishops of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and other churches where episcopal offices exist, have been formally seated on a throne, called a cathedra (Greek : κάθεδρα, seat). Traditionally located in the sanctuary, the cathedra symbolizes the bishop's authority to teach the faith (hence the expression "ex cathedra") and to govern his flock.

"Ex cathedra" refers to the explicative authority, notably the extremely rarely used procedure required for a papal declaration to be 'infallible' under Roman Catholic Canon law. In several languages the word deriving from cathedra is commonly used for an academic teaching mandate, the professorial chair.

From the presence of this cathedra (throne), which can be as elaborate and precious as fits a secular prince (even if the prelate is not a prince of the church in the secular sense), a bishop's primary church is called a cathedral. In the Roman Catholic Church, a basilica -from the Greek basilikos 'royal'-, now refers to the presence there of a papal canopy ( ombrellino ), part of his regalia, and applies mainly to many cathedrals and Catholic churches of similar importance and/or splendor. In Roman Antiquity a basilica was secular public hall. Thus, the term basilica may also refer to a church designed after the manner of the ancient Roman basilica. Many of the churches built by the emperor Constantine the Great and Justinian are of the basilica style.

Some other prelates besides bishops are permitted the use of thrones, such as abbots and abbesses. These are often simpler than the thrones used by bishops and there may be restrictions on the style and ornamentation used on them, according to the regulations and traditions of the particular denomination.

As a mark of distinction, Roman Catholic bishops and higher prelates have a right to a canopy above their thrones at certain ecclesiastical functions. It is sometimes granted by special privilege to prelates inferior to bishops, but always with limitations as to the days on which it may be used and the character of its ornamentation. The liturgical color of the canopy should correspond with that of the other vestments. When ruling monarchs attend services, they are also allowed to be seated on a throne that is covered by a canopy, but their seats must be outside the sanctuary. [6]

In the Greek Orthodox Church, the bishop's throne will often combine features of the monastic choir stall ( kathisma ) with appurtenances inherited from the Byzantine court, such as a pair of lions seated at the foot of the throne.

The term "throne" is often used in reference to Patriarchs to designate their ecclesiastical authority; for instance, "the Ecumenical Throne" refers to the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Western bishops may also use a faldstool to fulfill the liturgical purpose of the cathedra when not in their own cathedral.


Drawing of the Cathedra Sancti Petri, in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome Cathedra Petri - carolingian throne.jpg
Drawing of the Cathedra Sancti Petri , in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope is an elected monarch, both under canon law as supreme head of the church, and under international law as the head of state -styled "sovereign pontiff"- of the Vatican City State (the sovereign state within the city of Rome established by the 1929 Lateran Treaty). Until 1870, the Pope was the elected monarch of the Papal States, which for centuries constituted one of the largest political powers on the divided Italian peninsula. To this day, the Holy See maintains officially recognised diplomatic status, and papal nuncios and legates are deputed on diplomatic missions throughout the world.

The Pope's throne (Cathedra Romana), is located in the apse of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, his cathedral as Bishop of Rome.

In apse of Saint Peter's Basilica, above the "Altar of the Chair" lies the Cathedra Petri, a throne believed to have been used by St Peter himself and other earlier Popes; this relic is enclosed in a gilt bronze casting and forms part of a huge monument designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Unlike at his cathedral (Archbasilica of St. John Lateran), there is no permanent cathedra for the Pope in St Peter's Basilica, so a removable throne is placed in the Basilica for the Pope's use whenever he presides over a liturgical ceremony. Prior to the liturgical reforms that occurred in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, a huge removable canopied throne was placed above an equally removable dais in the choir side of the "Altar of the Confession" (the high altar above the tomb of St Peter and beneath the monumental bronze baldachin); this throne stood between the apse and the Altar of the Confession.

This practice has fallen out of use with the 1960s and 1970s reform of Papal liturgy and, whenever the Pope celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, a simpler portable throne is now placed on platform in front of the Altar of the Confession. Whenever Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours at St Peter's, a more elaborate removable throne was placed on a dais to the side of the Altar of the Chair. When the Pope celebrates Mass on the Basilica steps facing St. Peter's Square, portable thrones are also used.

In the past, the pope was also carried on occasions in a portable throne, called the sedia gestatoria . Originally, the sedia was used as part of the elaborate procession surrounding papal ceremonies that was believed to be the most direct heir of pharaonic splendor, and included a pair of flabella (fans made from ostrich feathers) to either side. Pope John Paul I at first abandoned the use of these implements, but later in his brief reign began to use the sedia so that he could be seen more easily by the crowds. The use of the sedia was abandoned by Pope John Paul II in favor of the so-called "popemobile" when outside. Near the end of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II had a specially constructed throne on wheels that could be used inside.

Prior to 1978, at the Papal conclave, each cardinal was seated on a throne in the Sistine Chapel during the balloting. Each throne had a canopy over it. After a successful election, once the new pope accepted election and decided by what name he would be known, the cardinals would all lower their canopies, leaving only the canopy over the newly elected pope. This was the new pope's first throne. This tradition was dramatically portrayed in the 1968 film, The Shoes of the Fisherman .

Medieval and Early Modern periods

Throne of Charlemagne at Aachen Cathedral Aachener Dom BW 2016-07-09 13-53-18.jpg
Throne of Charlemagne at Aachen Cathedral

In European feudal countries, monarchs often were seated on thrones, based in all likelihood on the Roman magisterial chair. These thrones were originally quite simple, especially when compared to their Asian counterparts. One of the grandest and most important was the Throne of Ivan "the Terrible". Dating from the mid-16th century, it is shaped as a high-backed chair with arm rests, and adorned with ivory and walrus bone plaques intricately carved with mythological, heraldic and life scenes. The plaques carved with scenes from the biblical account of King David’s life are of particular relevance, as David was seen as the ideal for Christian monarchs. [7] In practice, any chair the monarch occupied in a formal setting served as a "throne", though there were often special chairs used only for this kept in places the monarch often went to. Thrones began to be made in pairs, for the king and queen, which remained common in later periods. Sometimes they are identical, or the queen's throne may be slightly less grand.

The throne of the Byzantine Empire (Magnaura) included elaborate automatons of singing birds. [8] In the 'regency' (nominally an Ottoman province, de facto an independent realm) of the Bey of Tunis, the throne was called kursi.

Though medieval examples tended to be retained in the Early Modern period, having acquired the aura of tradition, when new thrones were made they either continued medieval styles or were just very grand and elaborate versions of contemporary chairs or armchairs.

South Asia

Painting of the (later) Peacock Throne in the Diwan-i-Khas of the Red Fort, around 1850 Sixteen views of monuments in Delhi Peacock Throne Red Fort Delhi 1850.png
Painting of the (later) Peacock Throne in the Diwan-i-Khas of the Red Fort, around 1850
An image of the Buddha at the Kyaikkhauk Pagoda is seated on a traditional Burmese throne. 020 Kyaik-khauk, Thanlyin (8797028980).jpg
An image of the Buddha at the Kyaikkhauk Pagoda is seated on a traditional Burmese throne.

In the Indian subcontinent, the traditional Sanskrit name for the throne was siṃhāsana (lit., seat of a lion). In the Mughal times the throne was called Shāhī takht ([ˈʃaːhiː ˈtəxt]). The term gaddi (Hindustani pronunciation:  [ˈɡəd̪ːi] , also called rājgaddī) referred to a seat with a cushion used as a throne by Indian princes. [9] The term gaddi was usually used for the throne of a Hindu princely state's ruler, while among Muslim princes or Nawabs, save exceptions such as the Travancore State royal family, [10] the term musnad ([ˈməsnəd]), also spelt as musnud, was more common, even though both seats were similar.

The Throne of Jahangir was built by Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1602 and is located at the Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) at the Agra Fort.

The Peacock Throne was the seat of the Mughal emperors of India. It was commissioned in the early 17th century by emperor Shah Jahan and was located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The original throne was subsequently captured and taken as a war trophy in 1739 by the Persian king Nadir Shah, and has been lost ever since. A replacement throne based on the original was commissioned afterwards and existed until the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's throne was made by the goldsmith Hafez Muhammad Multani about 1820 to 1830. Made of Wood and resin core, covered with sheets of repoussé, chased and engraved gold. [11]

The Golden Throne or Chinnada Simhasana or Ratna Simahasana in Kannada is the royal seat of the rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore. The Golden throne is kept at Mysore Palace.

Southeast Asia

In Burma, the traditional name for a throne is palin, from the Pali term pallaṅka, which means "couch" or "sofa." The Burmese palin in pre-colonial times was used to seat the sovereign and his main consort, and is today used to seat religious leaders such as sayadaws, and images of the Buddha. Royal thrones are called yazapalin (ရာဇပလ္လင်), while thrones seating images or statues of the Buddha are called gaw pallin (ဂေါ့ပလ္လင်) or samakhan (စမ္မခဏ်), from the Pali term sammakhaṇḍa.

East Asia

Imperial throne.jpg
The Takamikura throne kept in the Kyoto Imperial Palace is used for accession ceremonies. It was last used during the enthronement of the current Emperor Naruhito in 2019.
Le Van Thinh.jpg
Statue of Lê Văn Thịnh seated on a throne (for liturgical purposes) which is a simplified replica of the actual imperial throne

The Dragon Throne is the term used to identify the throne of the Emperor of China. As the dragon was the emblem of divine imperial power, the throne of the emperor, who was considered a living god, was known as the Dragon Throne. [12] The term can refer to very specific seating, as in the special seating in various structures in the Forbidden City of Beijing or in the palaces of the Old Summer Palace. In an abstract sense, the "Dragon Throne" also refers rhetorically to the head of state and to the monarchy itself. [13] The Daoguang Emperor is said to have referred to his throne as "the divine utensil."

The throne of the Emperors of Vietnam are often referred to as ngai vàng ("golden throne") or ngôi báu (大寳/寶座) literally "great precious" (seat/position). The throne are always adorned with the pattern and motif of the Vietnamese dragon, which is the exclusive and privileged symbol of the Vietnamese Emperors. The last existing imperial throne in Vietnam is the throne of Nguyễn Emperors placed in The Hall of Supreme Harmony, Imperial City of Huế. It is designated as a national treasure of Vietnam. [14] In Vietnamese folk religion, the gods, deities and ancestral spirits are believed to seat figuratively on thrones at places of worship. Therefore, on Vietnamese altars, there are various types of liturgical "throne" often decorated with red paint and golden gilding. [15]

The Phoenix Throne (어좌 eojwa) is the term used to identify the throne of the King of Korea. In an abstract sense, the Phoenix Throne also refers rhetorically to the head of state of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897) and the Empire of Korea (1897–1910). The throne is located at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul.

The Chrysanthemum Throne (皇位, kōi, lit. "Imperial position/rank") is the term used to identify the throne of the Emperor of Japan. The term also can refer to very specific seating, such as the takamikura (高御座) throne in the Shishin-den at Kyoto Imperial Palace. [16]

The throne of the Ryukyu Kingdom is located in Shuri Castle, Naha.

Modern period

Throne-like chair of the Lord Mayor of London in London's Guildhall Guildhall, London - Great Hall (5).jpg
Throne-like chair of the Lord Mayor of London in London's Guildhall

During the Russian Empire, the throne in St. George's Hall (the "Greater Throne Room") in the Winter Palace was regarded as the throne of Russia. It sits atop a seven-stepped dais with a proscenium arch above and the symbol of the Imperial Family behind (the two-headed eagle). Peter I's Room (the "Smaller Throne Room") is modest in comparison to the former. The throne was made for Empress Anna Ivanovna in London. There is also a throne in the Grand Throne Room of the Peterhof Palace.

In some countries with a monarchy, thrones are still used and have important symbolic and ceremonial meaning. Among the most famous thrones still in usage are St Edward's Chair, on which the British monarch is crowned, and the thrones used by monarchs during the state opening of parliaments in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and Japan (see above) among others.

Some republics use distinctive throne-like chairs in some state ceremonial. The President of Ireland sits on a former viceregal throne during his or her inauguration ceremony while Lords Mayor and Lords Provost of many British and Irish cities often preside over local councils from throne-like chairs.

Due to its symbolic nature, a toilet is often jokingly referred to as "a throne".


The Ivory Throne of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia. Ivans ivory throne.jpg
The Ivory Throne of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia.
The Throne Chair of Denmark, made of narwhal tusks.
By Wilhelm Bendz (1830) Frederik vi in coronationrobes1830.jpg
The Throne Chair of Denmark, made of narwhal tusks.
By Wilhelm Bendz (1830)
The Dragon Throne of the Emperor of China in the Forbidden City in Beijing. Inside the Forbidden City.jpg
The Dragon Throne of the Emperor of China in the Forbidden City in Beijing.




A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones


  • Ember Throne of Vulcanius
  • Wave Throne of Great Waterton
  • Airean Throne of Skyreland

Warhammer 40,000 /

See also

Other uses

Sources and references

  1. Oxford English Dictionary, ISBN   0-19-861186-2
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910–1911 vol. 26, p. 891-2.
  3. θρόνος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. Sophocles, Antigone, 1041, on Perseus
  5. Janda, Michael, Die Musik nach dem Chaos, Innsbruck 2010.
  6. "Canopy". The Catholic Encyclopedia. III. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1908. Retrieved 2007-07-12.
  7. "Throne of Ivan IV the Terrible". Regalia of Russian Tsars. The Moscow Kremlin. Retrieved 2007-07-12.
  8. Brett, Gerard (July 1954). "The Automata in the Byzantine "Throne of Solomon"". Speculum. 29 (3): 477–487. doi:10.2307/2846790. ISSN   0038-7134. JSTOR   2846790. S2CID   163031682.
  9. Mark Brentnall, ed. The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh pg. 301
  10. Velu Pillai. Travancore State Manual (1940)
  11. "The Court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  12. Arnold, Julean Herbert. (1920). Commercial Handbook of China, p. 446.
  13. Williams, David. (1858). The preceptor's assistant, or, Miscellaneous questions in general history, literature, and science, p. 153.
  14. Prime Minister of Vietnam (23 December 2015), Decision No. 2382/QD-TTg on recognisation of national treasures (in Vietnamese), Viet Nam Government Portal, retrieved 2 March 2021
  15. Hue-Tam Ho Tai (2021), Religion in Vietnam: A World of Gods and Spirits, Asia Society, retrieved 2 March 2021
  16. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 337.

Related Research Articles

Pope Leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as supreme pontiff or Roman pontiff, is the bishop of Rome, head of the worldwide Catholic Church and head of state or sovereign of the Vatican City State. According to Catholics, the primacy of the bishop of Rome is largely derived from his role as the apostolic successor to Saint Peter, to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus, giving him the Keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013.

Papal tiara Crown worn by popes of the Roman Catholic Church

The papal tiara is a crown that was worn by popes of the Catholic Church from as early as the 8th century to the mid-20th. It was last used by Pope Paul VI in 1963 and only at the beginning of his reign.

Papal coronation Roman Catholic Church ceremony of placing the papal tiara on a newly-elected Pope

A papal coronation is the ceremony of the placing of the papal tiara on a newly elected pope. The first recorded papal coronation was that of Nicholas I in 858. The most recent was the 1963 coronation of Paul VI, who soon afterwards abandoned the practice of wearing the tiara. To date, none of his successors have used the tiara, and their papal inauguration celebrations have included no coronation ceremony, although any future Pope may elect to restore the use of the tiara at any point during their pontificate.

Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran Church in Rome, Italy

The Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran, also known as the Papal Archbasilica of Saint John [in] Lateran, Saint John Lateran, or the Lateran Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome in the city of Rome, and serves as the seat of the bishop of Rome, the pope. While situated in the City of Rome, the archbasilica lies outside of Vatican City proper, which is located approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to its northwest. Nevertheless, as properties of the Holy See, the archbasilica and its adjoining edifices enjoy an extraterritorial status from Italy, pursuant to the terms of the Lateran Treaty of 1929.

Sedia gestatoria

The sedia gestatoria or gestatorial chair is a ceremonial throne on which popes were carried on shoulders until 1978, and later replaced outdoors in part with the popemobile. It consists of a richly adorned, silk-covered armchair, fastened on a suppedaneum, on each side of which are two gilded rings; through these rings pass the long rods with which twelve footmen (palafrenieri), in red uniforms, carry the throne on their shoulders. On prior occasions, as in the case of Pope Stephen III, popes were carried on the shoulders of men.

Pontifical High Mass

In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be the pope or any bishop.

<i>Cathedra</i> Bishops throne in a cathedral

A cathedra is the raised throne of a bishop in the early Christian basilica. When used with this meaning, it may also be called the bishop's throne. With time, the related term cathedral became synonymous with the "seat", or principal church, of a bishopric.


A baldachin, or baldaquin, is a canopy of state typically placed over an altar or throne. It had its beginnings as a cloth canopy, but in other cases it is a sturdy, permanent architectural feature, particularly over high altars in cathedrals, where such a structure is more correctly called a ciborium when it is sufficiently architectural in form. Baldachins are often supported on columns, especially when they are disconnected from an enclosing wall. A cloth of honour is a simpler cloth hanging vertically behind the throne, usually continuing to form a canopy. It can also be used for similar canopies in interior design, for example above beds, and for processional canopies used in formal state ceremonies such as coronations, held up by four or more men with poles attached to the corners of the cloth.

Papal Mass

A Papal Mass is the Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Pope. It is celebrated on such occasions as a papal coronation, an ex cathedra pronouncement, the canonization of a saint, on Easter or Christmas or other major feast days.

Papal regalia and insignia Official items of attire and decoration proper to the Pope

Papal regalia and insignia are the official items of attire and decoration proper to the Pope in his capacity as the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.


An enthronement is a ceremony of inauguration, involving a person—usually a monarch or religious leader—being formally seated for the first time upon their throne. Enthronements may also feature as part of a larger coronation rite.

Chair of Saint Peter

The Chair of Saint Peter, also known as the Throne of Saint Peter, is a relic conserved in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the sovereign enclave of the Pope inside Rome, Italy. The relic is a wooden throne that tradition claims belongs to the Apostle Saint Peter, the leader of the Early Christians in Rome and first Pope, used as Bishop of Rome. The relic is enclosed in a sculpted gilt bronze casing designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and executed between 1647 and 1653. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI described the chair as "a symbol of the special mission of Peter and his Successors to tend Christ’s flock, keeping it united in faith and in charity."

Tribune (architecture)

Tribune is an ambiguous – and often misused – architectural term, which can have several meanings. Today, it most often refers to a dais or stage-like platform or, in a vaguer sense, any place from which a speech can be prominently made.

<i>St. Peters Baldachin</i>

St. Peter's Baldachin is a large Baroque sculpted bronze canopy, technically called a ciborium or baldachin, over the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the city-state and papal enclave surrounded by Rome, Italy. The baldachin is at the center of the crossing, and directly under the dome of the basilica. Designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, it was intended to mark, in a monumental way, the place of Saint Peter's tomb underneath. Under its canopy is the high altar of the basilica. Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, the work began in 1623 and ended in 1634. The baldachin acts as a visual focus within the basilica; it is itself a very large structure and forms a visual mediation between the enormous scale of the building and the human scale of the people officiating at the religious ceremonies at the papal altar beneath its canopy.

Papal selection before 1059 Selection of popes before 1059

The selection of the pope, the bishop of Rome and supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, prior to the promulgation of In nomine Domini in 1059 varied throughout history. Popes were often appointed by their predecessors or by political rulers. While some kind of election often characterized the procedure, an election that included meaningful participation of the laity was rare, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later result in the jus exclusivae, i.e., a right to veto the selection that Catholic monarchs exercised into the twentieth century.

Abdication Voluntary or forced renunciation of sovereign power

Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societies, abdication was a regular event, and helped maintain stability during political succession.

Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor Ceremony in which ruler of Western Europes largest political entity received Imperial Regalia from the Pope

The Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor was a ceremony in which the ruler of Western Europe's then-largest political entity received the Imperial Regalia at the hands of the Pope, symbolizing both the pope's right to crown Christian sovereigns and also the emperor's role as protector of the Roman Catholic Church. The Holy Roman Empresses were crowned as well.

Placidia Palace

The Placidia Palace was the official residence of the papal apocrisiarius, the ambassador from the pope to the patriarch of Constantinople, and the intermittent home of the pope himself when in residence at Constantinople. The apocrisiarius held "considerable influence as a conduit for both public and covert communications" between pope and Byzantine emperor.

Coronations in Europe

Coronations in Europe were previously held in the monarchies of Europe. The United Kingdom is the only monarchy in Europe that still practices coronation. Current European monarchies have either replaced coronations with simpler ceremonies to mark an accession or have never practiced coronations. Most monarchies today only require a simple oath to be taken in the presence of the country's legislature.

Coronation of the Emperor of Brazil

The coronation of the Emperor of Brazil was the religious rite of consecration during which the monarchs of the Empire of Brazil were solemnly blessed, anointed, crowned, invested with the other items of the imperial regalia and enthroned, according to the usages of the Catholic Church, the Empire's official, established Church. The coronation of the Brazilian monarch confirmed the accession of a new emperor to the throne, and corresponded to similar rites that took place in other Christian monarchies. The two Brazilian emperors, Pedro I and Pedro II underwent the ceremony of coronation, on 1 December 1822 and 18 July 1841, respectively. Those remain the two sole acts of coronation that took place in the South American continent.