The Room of Tears (Italian: Stanza delle Lacrime),[1] also called The Crying Room (Italian: Stanza del Pianto), is a small antechamber within The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, where a newly elected pope changes into his papal cassock for the first time.

Sistine Chapel

The Room of Tears receives its name, as a reference to tears that have been shed by newly elected popes within it.[2] According to Fr. Christopher Whitehead, the room's name can be explained "because the poor man obviously breaks down at being elected."[1] It is alternatively referred to as The Crying Room.[3]

The room is located in Vatican City, to the left of the altar of the Sistine Chapel, and contains three different sizes of papal outfits (large, medium, and small), for the new pontiff to choose from and initially dress in.[4][5][1] It also contains seven piled white shoe boxes, which are assumed to contain various sizes of the papal shoes.[6] Additionally, the room holds albs, chasubles, and copes worn by various Popes across the years, including the cope of Pope Pius VI and the stole of Pope Pius VII.[7]


Pope Leo XIII is said to have cried upon his election in 1878. After the 1958 papal conclave elected Pope John XXIII, he looked at himself in the mirror, wearing the papal cassock. Due to his large frame, it did not properly fit the pontiff, leading him to jokingly remark that "This man will be a disaster on television!".[3] After the 2005 papal conclave, Pope Benedict XVI is said to have entered the room looking upset, but emerged in a brighter mood.[8]

In other media

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Conclave trivia: Why cardinals are locked in, popes' houses ransacked". CNN. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Conclaves Through History: 7 Moments That Shaped the Process". ABC News. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b McAuley, Joseph (12 March 2016). "Pope Francis and the room of tears". America. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  4. ^ Gold, Michael (12 March 2013). "Room of Tears". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  5. ^ Wooden, Cindy (1 January 1970). "What happens when cardinals elect a pope". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  6. ^ Winfield, Nichole (12 March 2013). "First day of voting ends with no pope elected". Herald Tribune. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  7. ^ Bishop Robert Barron (29 June 2015). "We've Been Here Before: Marriage and the Room of Tears". Catholic World Report. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  8. ^ "U-turn by the Pope over other 'inferior' religions'". The Newsroom. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  9. ^ Lee, Ashley (20 December 2019). "'The Two Popes' couldn't film inside the Sistine Chapel. So Netflix built a bigger one". LA Times. Retrieved 18 November 2022.