Saturday, 9 March 2013

Papal Retrospective : Benedict XV

Pope Benedict XV 1914-1922.
On 3rd September, 1914, GIACOMA DELLA CHIESA, Cardinal-Archbishop of Bologna, was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals and took the name Benedict XV. World War One had broken out and the Conclave had wished to place the Church in the hands of an experienced Diplomat, even though Della Chiesa was only 59.

Giacomo Della-Chiesa was born of noble parents in Genoa on 21st November 1854. He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1878, where he continued studies until becoming part of Vatican Diplomatic Corps. He continued in this work until he was appointed Archbishop of Bologna by Pope Pius X in 1907. Only a few months before his death in August 1914, Pope Pius X Elevated Monsignor Della-Chiesa to the Sacred College.

Pope Benedict XV's Pontificate spanned the years of the First World War and he was admired by all parties to that tragic conflict for his many efforts to broker peace and to assist the victims of war. Never of robust health, Pope Benedict died on 22nd January, 1922 at the young age of 67. He is buried in the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica.

An informative account of his life and work can be found here.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

In the Sistine Chapel, 18th December 1907:
Pope Pius X consecrates Monsignor Giacomo Della Chiesa
as Archbishop of Bologna.

A zealous bishop: the new Archbishop of Bologna visited parts of his
diocese on horseback.

Cardinal Della Chiesa in 1914.

The newly-elected Benedict XV was crowned Pope in the Sistine Chapel
6th September 1914.  This rare photograph shews Benedict offering
the Solemn Papal Mass of Coronation.  On the right side of
the altar is the Triregnum with which he was crowned.

A portrait of Pope Benedict taken shortly after his Election.

The Coat of Arms of Pope Benedict

Another historic moment in the Sistine Chapel:
Pope Benedict consecrating Monsignor Eugenio Pacelli bishop in 1917.
In 1939, Pacelli was elected as Pope Pius XII.

Pope Benedict XV.

Bronze medal of Benedict XV, also shewing his Coat of Arms.

The mortal remains of Pope Benedict XV being carried in procession
to Saint Peter's Basilica, January 1922.