Leo XIII sings Ave Maria

In this video you hear 93-year-old Pope Leo XIII chant Ave Maria in Latin–the oldest known audio recording of a Pope. This recording, made a few months before he died in 1903, is superimposed over the very first film footage of a Pope in existence. The film itself was made in 1896, it begins without sound. In this film you see Pope Leo XIII in 1896 descending from a horse-drawn carriage, removing his galero and glasses (giving them to aides) fixing his hair, receiving homage and giving benediction to the assembled. This segues to another brief footage of him giving benediction in another setting.

(Source: Priests’ Secretary)

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3 Responses to Leo XIII sings Ave Maria

  1. leftfooter says:

    Amazing, beautiful.

  2. Brother Burrito says:

    This has ‘blown me away’.

    We are so used to video and audio these days, that this clip has really brought it home to me that we are spoilt by media.

    The Pope is no bogeyman, he is just a wise, kindly old man, issuing benediction to all mankind.

  3. John Willard says:

    The audio part was recorded 5 February 1903 by pioneer recording engineer Gianni Bettini (who speaks an introductory comment at the beginning of the full recording), and was labeled “Phonogramme B.” “Phonogramme A,” made at the same time, is Papa Leone’s Benediction. The two records — originally wax cylinders — were promoted with an elaborately decorated brochure. While the Ave Maria can be found elsewhere online and on CDs, I have yet to find the Benediction anywhere. Does anyone know where it is available?

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