Thursday, March 2, 2017

Born Today March 2: Leo XIII


Pope Leo XIII was born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci on this day in Carpineto Romano, a small province that was near Rome.  He was the sixth of seven sons born into family with minor aristocratic ties.  He lived at home with his family until 1818, when left with a brother to study at a Jesuit College.  There he remained until 1824.  He had a real fondness and talent for the Latin language, and was composing poems in that language by the age of 11.  In 1824, his mother died suddenly,  and his father subsequently  wanted all his children close to him as a result.  His kids stayed with him in Rome and entered the Collegium Romanum.  In 1829, his brother Guiseppe decided to go into the Jesuit order, while Vincenzo opted for secular clergy.  He would then go on to study law and diplomacy.  In 1834, he gave a student presentation that was widely attended and this gained him the attention of the Vatican itself.  In 1836, he received his doctorate in theology and also doctorates in both civil and Canon Law. By early 1837, during a deadly cholera outbreak in Rome, Pope Gregory XVI appointed him as personal prelate, and this was before Vincenzo was ordained as a priest.  In December of that same year, he was ordained by the Vicar of Rome.  He celebrated his first mass with his brother Guiseppe. He was first appointed a provincial administrator of Benevento by the Pope, where he would take on the Mafia and other organized crime elements there.  He would become Bishop and Archbishop at very early age, and would serve the Holy See both domestically and abroad.  He was crowned Pope the 3rd of March 1878.  In regards to film, he became the very first Pope to appear in film and that came in 1896 with the short Leone XIII; it is one of only 4 films ever listed as having been filmed completely in and produced by the Holy See to this day.  It still exists and has been restored.  From then on, he was featured in several newsreel short "documentary" films right up until the time of his death; most of them date from the year 1898.  The last film to feature the Pope came in 1903 (one of 3 from that year) that reported on his death:  La mort du pape Léon XIII, it was a Pathé Freres (of France) production.  Leo XIII died on the 20th of July in 1903 at the age of 93; this made him the longest lived Pope so far.  At the time, he was also the second longest reigning Pope of all time (that has since gone to 3rd, after the the reign of Pope John Paul II).  He was initially interred in St. Peter's Basilica, as expected; however in 1924 he was re-interred in St. John Lateran, his cathedral church as Bishop of Rome.  As with all historical figures featured here, follow the links for more in depth lifetime information.

For More:

For Films IMDb

Leave Virtual Flowers @ Find A Grave

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