The Cologne Cathedral has a tradition of installing images of prominant public figures.
The piece was created by the Dombauhütte of Cologne, an organization that brings together the best stonemasons from the western German region known as Rhineland for the maintenance of the Cathedral. They dedicated the figurine to Pope Francis when they installed it over the main portal.
Historically, many gargoyles were created with a fountain spout, from which water might pour. As for the pope Francis figure, master builder Peter Füssenich, in charge of the Dombauhütte, told the German publication The Express:
“It is only an ornamental gargoyle, it does not serve as a waterspout, so there is no water coming out.”
In the past, many other public figures have been honored by the Cologne Cathedral with sculptures in the building and on its roof, as well as in stained glass depictions. Alongside several famous FC Köln footballers can be found the former secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev; United States President John F. Kennedy; French President Charles de Gaulle; and former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
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