This is the oldest known footage of a Pope in existence. This film of Pope Leo XIII was created in 1896. The audio portion is the oldest known audio recording of Pope, also of Pope Leo XIII recorded in 1903. The audio is Pope Leo XIII chanting the Ave Maria in Latin.

Pope Leo XIII (2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903), born Count Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903 in succession to Pope Pius IX.

Reigning until the age of 93, he was the oldest pope, and had the third longest pontificate, behind his immediate predecessor Pius IX and John Paul II. He is known for intellectualism, the development of social teachings with his encyclical Rerum Novarum and his attempts to define the position of the Church with regard to modern thinking.

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  1. Someone wise said many years ago, If you can’t say anything nice, you need not say anything at all. I think that applies here. Us Catholics really don’t care what you think or have to say slanderously.

  2. Ditto what Dwan said. Let’s all Bless Rielle and not curse him/her and the Holy Spirit will work wonders our words never can.

  3. Imagine being alive that time and seeing the papal blessing for the first time. Must have been a real clebration, the church feeling and seeing the closeness of the holy father.

  4. Interestingly, the years of Pope Leo’s Pontificate (1878-1903) coincided exactly with the life of my favorite Saint, the extraordinary 20th century mystic and stigmatic St Gemma Galgani, who died on Holy Saturday, Apriil 11, 1903, some two months prior to the death of Pope Leo XII. And, his Papacy began on Feb 20, 19 days before her birth on March 12, 1878.

    For more info on Saint Gemma see the St Gemma Galgani website at:

    -Glenn Dallaire
    Bristol, CT USA

  5. Thank you Pope Leo XIII for creating the “St. Michael The Archangel” prayer we say daily after your horrible vision of hell.

  6. WOW! This is what I love about the internet! This video is such a treasure, and thank you for sharing it with us!

  7. What a treasure! How wonderful to see this blessed pope in video. I pray that he intercedes for us and the challenges facing the world today. How right he was about modernism! Truly a prophetic pope.

  8. I don’t mean to get off-topic but I’m having trouble loading this page correctly in Firefox. The margins are all messed up and some things overlap each other. Just wanted to let you know since a lot of people use this browser.

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  14. Don’t say head of the Roman Catholic Church. This is not accurate and misleading this is what Protestants taught. The pope is Roman Catholic but a head of the Catholic Church. The RCC is just part of the eastern rite of the Catholic Church so are the Anglicans in communion and others. She also has an eastern rite like the Greeks, Chaldeans, Ethiopians, Syrians, Mennonites, etc. all of these churches since 33AD are members of the Catholic Church. The one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church God founded on Peter, the first bishop of Rome and first pope. Hence the bishop of Rome is the pope and is the head of the Catholic Church.

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