Blessing: Abbot’s Ring

“Take this ring, the seal of fidelity.  Wear it as the symbol of constancy and maintain this monastic family in the bond of brotherly love.”

With these words, Bishop Joseph will place a signet ring on Abbot Mark’s ring finger during the blessing ceremony.  While a ring amongst clergy is usually associated with bishops (hence the custom of kissing the bishop’s ring), abbots have been granted the privilege of wearing a ring since the middle ages.  The ring is one of the pontifical insignia. Apart from abbots, monks typically do not wear jewelry.

There are various types of ring that can be worn:  signet rings, band rings, and rings with a jewel or jewels.  The five abbots of Saint Anselm Abbey will have worn all three types.  Abbot Mark’s ring will be a signet ring, with his shield on it, the design of which will be available in the program for the event.  In 1986, Abbot Matthew received a band ring, which he continues to wear.  Bishop Joseph did not take a ring as abbot in 1972, but received a signet ring when he was ordained a bishop (1986).  Abbot Gerald wore a ring with a jewel, an amethyst, a semi-precious stone, associated with abbatial office.

Our first abbot, Abbot Bertrand, had several rings, two of which are pictured below, the one on the right with the amethyst, and the one on the left, centered with a peridot gemstone surrounded by diamonds.

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