Foot (2)

Foot Kissing of the Pope's. — The kissing of the feet of rulers was an Oriental mode of testifying reverence or subjection. It was also done in the West to some, at least, of the Roman emperors, Dioclesian is said to have had gems fastened to his shoes, that the honor of kissing his feet might be more willingly paid. It was introduced as a sign of reverence for the pope of Rome at some, date not precisely known. In defense of this practice, the Roman writers adduce an early usage of the sort in favor of all bishops; but it was kissing of the hand, not of the foot, that seems to have been the usage (Bingham, Orig. Eccles. book 2, chapter 9). The first example of an emperor kissing the pope's foot is that of Justin with the foot of pope John I, A.D. 525. It is now practiced (1) after the election of a new pope, when all the cardinals kiss his foot; (2) on the election of a new cardinal, when he kisses the pope's foot, formally, in sign of homage and submission; (3) at public audiences of the pope, when persons presented kiss his foot. Protestants are not required to perform this homage when presented. A crucifix is fastened to the slipper, that the act of adoration may be interpreted as paid to Christ in the person of his so-called vicar.

Bible concordance for FOOT.

Definition of foot

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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