The Sediari pontifici were chair-bearers of the pope on the sedia gestatoria. Originally servants of the papal household they later became a lay confraternity. The origins of the chair-bearers lie in medieval times, earlier even than the Swiss Guards.
The earlier red-dressed papal grooms or palafrenieri were a different group of papal servants, originally liverymen for the papal carriage, then an influential Confraternity, then finally merged with the sediari. The sediari and parafrenieri constituted a Confraternity from 1378. Pius IV allowed them in 1565 to erect the chiesa di Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri, designed by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola.
John Paul II
- Inside the Vatican 2001 "(The Palafrenieri were gentlemen of the papal household who carried out different personal services for the pontiff, including carrying the canopy over the papal sedan; they later merged with the Sediari, who carried the papal throne in public ..."
- Hidden helpers: Vatican ushers bring tots, disabled closer to pope PAPAL USHERS Apr-24-2012 (920 words) With photo. xxxi