Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church

The Camerlengo (Italian for Chamberlain, lat Camerarius Camerae Apostolicae, actually: Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, also known as the Cardinal Camerlengo and Cardinal Chamberlain ) is a high office in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. He is responsible for administration of the Vatican during the period of vacancy and for the organization of the conclave.

To distinguish from the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church is the Camerlengo of the ( Holy ) College of Cardinals, an office which existed from 1150 to 1997.


The Camerlengo is responsible for the leadership of the Apostolic Chamber, the former papal tax authority. Originally from the ranks of the College of Cardinals Camerlengo is appointed by the pope since the 15th century.


The standing in the Cardinal rank Treasurer of the Church notes the Pope's death and takes over during the period of vacancy as chairman of the special congregations, supported by three certain lots by the Cardinal Wizard, the administration of the Roman Church, but without the power of jurisdiction.

The determination of death expires after a fixed ritual. It enters the cardinal chamberlain, accompanied by an armed guard with halberds of the Swiss Guard ( as a sign of authority passed to him ) in the presence of Ceremonies, the prelates, and the Secretary and Chancellor of the Apostolic Chamber in the bedroom of the Pope. The Camerlengo is the death of the Pope officially established. Thereafter, the Secretary and Chancellor of the Apostolic Chamber without delay a death certificate (the cause of death has not called, are not arranged an autopsy ). The previously used ivory or silver hammer, with the Camerlengo of the deceased knocked three times on the forehead, as well as the procedure to call the dead in Latin with his baptismal name, and ask him if he was asleep, is no longer performed. "? Albina, dormisne " ("? Albino, are you sleeping ") was the late Pope John Paul I (real name: Albino Luciani ) asked.

The timing of the publication of death is in the hands of the Camerlengo. Is the death of the Pope officially established, the Camerlengo takes the deceased from the fisherman's ring, the symbol of papal power. The ring is under the first General Assembly of the Cardinals shattered after the death of the Pope with lead seal of the papacy before the eyes of those present, theoretically into as many parts as cardinals are present, practically this is not necessarily obvious reasons possible.

The Camerlengo takes possession of the papal palaces and ensures that the office and the private rooms of the late Pope to be sealed. Nor are the Pope's funeral and proper election of a successor the responsibility of Camerlengos. During the period of vacancy, the coat of arms of the Holy See is replaced with the insignia of the Apostolic Chamber, which consist of the personal coat of arms of the Camerlengos that of an as Padiglione (Latin: umbraculum ) is surmounted designated canopy and crossed keys Peter.

The pope's death, he shall notify the Vicar General (also: Cardinal Vicar ) of the Diocese of Rome, which in turn will inform the population.

The Cardinal Chamberlain also directs the solemn procession to the laying out of the late Pope in St. Peter's Basilica.

The current Camerlengo Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Italians, who had held the office of Cardinal Secretary of State until 15 October 2013.