Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 27 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Angela Merici
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

This is the oldest audio-visual recording of a pope

J-P Mauro - published on 08/07/19

At 93 years old, Pope Leo XIII was recorded praying the Hail Mary.

Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to communicate by social media, a technological advancement Pope Francis now uses as well. Though the Vatican has never had a reputation for being especially tech-savvy, throughout the 20th century the papacy was able to utilize modern communication methods to send out papal edicts in the pope’s own voice, rather than just the written word. But this tradition actually began in the 19th century.

The video featured above reproduces the earliest audio-visual footage of a Bishop of Rome. Taken in 1896, the film shows Pope Leo XIII arriving at an event, although it is unclear if it is a Mass or a papal address.

The audio, which begins about 30 seconds in, is from a different gathering in 1903, the same year that Pope Leo XIII died. In the audio recording, Pope Leo recites the Ave Maria in Latin.

Leo XIII was pope of the Catholic Church from 1878 to 1903. The Vintage News notes that Pope Leo was responsible for reforming poor economies, calling for just labor relations, breaking alliances between the nobility and the Mafia, fighting corruption, clearing the land of bandits, and encouraging trade.

During his tenure, Pope Leo XIII wrote eleven encyclicals on the subject of devotion to the Virgin Mary, and for such works became known as the “Rosary Pope.”

His 25-year papacy is the third longest, behind Pius IX, whose pontificate lasted 32 years, and the Apostle Peter, 34 years. When he died at the age of 93, Leo XIII was the longest-lived pope.

Tags:
Pope
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
2
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
The 4 Ways to read Scripture every Catholic should know
3
Philip Kosloski
When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?
4
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
5
LUPKOW CEMETERY
J-P Mauro
Polish statue of Christ found peeking out of a growing tree
6
PHILIP RIVERS
Cerith Gardiner
Quarterback Philip Rivers' retirement announcement reflects his s...
7
ŚWIĘTY JÓZEF
Kathleen N. Hattrup
The Litany of St. Joseph
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.