The diocesan bishop wears a large ring, generally on his or her right hand. The ring is generally gold, set with an amethyst (for the color purple). Properly speaking such a ring is an “episcopal ring”. The practice of wearing a ring originated late in the sixth century, in the Roman Catholic Church, as a sign of episcopal dignity. It is considered a pious practice (but never required) that the first time a person meets the diocesan bishop (if the bishop is functioning officially) to kiss the bishop’s ring. This practice is one by which the person acknowledges the bishop’s authority.

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