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Sede vacante in the canon law of the Catholic Church is the vacancy of the episcopal see of a particular church and especially that of the papacy. It is Latin for "[with] the seat being vacant", the seat in question being the bishop's throne of the particular church.
After the death or resignation of a pope, the Holy See enters a period of sede vacante. In this case the particular church is the Diocese of Rome and the "vacant seat" is the cathedra of Saint John Lateran, the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome. During this period, the Holy See is administered by a regency of the College of Cardinals.
Depicts the coat of arms of the Cardinal Chamberlain Eduardo Martinez Somalo (surmounted by the crossed keys, and the galero with fifteen tassels on each side), the interim Head of the State of Vatican City, superimposed on the emblem of the Apostolic Chamber, is surrounded with the inscription "SEDE VACANTE" (the seat being vacant), the date in Roman numerals "MMV" (2005), the inscription "CITTA' DEL VATICANO" (Vatican City) and the twelve stars of Europe.
A globe, next to the facial value, shows Europe in relation to Africa and Asia.