Twice a year, at Easter and at Christmas, the pope steps out onto the Benediction Loggia of St Peter's Basilica to deliver his blessing Urbi e Orbi (to the City and to the World). The only other occasion on which the pope will impart this blessing is on being elected pontiff.
The sculpture beneath the loggia depicts Christ Consigning the Keys to Peter (1612) and is the signed work of Ambrogio Buonvicino (c. 1552-1622). The scene illustrates the words of St Matthew's Gospel: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (16:19 KJV)
St Peter the Apostle is recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as its first pope.