Minnesota and North Dakota Chapter

Ceremonial Hammer for the Verification of the Death of a Pope

This ceremonial hammer was used to tap a recently deceased pope on the forehead calling him by his Christian name. If there was no answer to the third call, the pope was declared dead. This ritual is said to have been used for the last time for Blessed pope John XXIII.

This example dates back to the mid 20th century. It is made of Ebony and gilded silver. It measures 22 by 9 by 2 cm.

This 2002 conservation was courtesy of The Minnesota Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

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