Popes have to sit in a lot of different chairs and in different places. Here are 6 of the coolest papal chairs (and some are relics, too!) we could find.
1. Papal Throne
This is the chair the current pope usually sits on while in the Vatican and is located in the apse of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. It is also called Cathedra Romana
2. Sedia Gestatoria
The Sedia Gestatoria was the ceremonial chair used to carry popes and has been replaced (by Pope St. John Paul II initially, and by both of his successors) by the Popemobile.
3. Chairs of Pope Francis on his visit to Mexico
The Rodriguez family spent over 400 hours carving and crafting five chairs for Pope Francis to use during his visit to Juarez, Mexico. The papal seal took a month to carve! Here’s a short video from CNN on the family of crafters.
4. Chairs crafted for Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines
These chairs were crafted for Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines by VitreArtus.
5. Chair for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia carved by local inmates
In the Phildelphia prison system, inmates can participate in various programs that teach them employable skills to help them find jobs once they leave the prison system. One such program is a furniture making program through Philacor. Through this program, these inmates were tasked with carving a chair for Pope Francis’ visit to the city in 2015. One inmate, Michael Green said he understood that he had “made bad decisions to be in jail, but by doing this right here, it gives me a sense of gratitude that I can give something back to my community and be a better person when I come home.” Read the rest of the article on these crafty inmates here.
6. The Chair of St. Peter
So the Chair of St. Peter is both a figurative title for the office of St. Peter and also a literal physical chair! The chair itself is housed in the altar in the aspe of St. Peter’s Basilica behind the statue and below the stained glass window depicting the Holy Spirit. When a pope makes a decree ex cathedra it literally means “from the chair”, but he doesn’t have to be sitting in the actual chair to make the decree (it’s pretty high off the ground anyway). Ex cathedra refers to the office of St. Peter.