At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

21 November 2015

Pope Benedict XV

The ‘humanitarian’ pope who tried to stop the war 

Pope Benedict XV, who was pontiff for the whole of the First World War, was born on this day in 1854 in Genoa.

Pope Benedict XV was Archbishop of Bologna in 1907
Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, where Pope
Benedict was Archbishop
He tried to stop the war, which he described as ‘the suicide of a civilised Europe’, but when his attempts failed, he devoted himself to trying to alleviate the suffering.

Christened Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa, the future Pope Benedict XV was encouraged to study law by his family and attended the University of Genoa. Afterwards his father reluctantly agreed to let him study for the priesthood and he was allowed to move to Rome.

Pope Pius X made him Archbishop of Bologna in 1907 and a Cardinal in 1914.
He became Pope Benedict (Benedetto) XV in September 1914 after World War I was already under way.

The new Pope immediately tried to mediate to achieve a peaceful settlement but his attempts were rejected by all the parties involved.

He then concentrated on humanitarian works, such as the exchange of wounded prisoners of war and the distribution of food among starving people.

Although Benedict had been chosen at the age of 59 because the church was looking for a long-lasting Pope, he died in Rome in 1922 after becoming ill with pneumonia and was buried under St Peter’s Basilica.

Benedict XV is possibly the least-remembered  pope of the 20th century as he was to be overshadowed by his successors, Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II.

Travel tip:

The birthplace of Pope Benedict XV was Genoa, ‘la Superba’, the capital of the region of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy. It has a rich maritime history, but still has a busy port and there is plenty to see and do. Genoa has been called a ‘city of contrasts’, with splendid palaces standing next to humble alleyways.

Travel tip:

Pope Benedict XV was Archbishop of Bologna from 1907 to 1914.   Bologna, with its iconic two towers (due torri), is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and is home to the oldest university in the world. The famous meat sauce known as rag├╣  bolognese, which is served with tagliatelle, or more often outside Italy with spaghetti, was invented there.

No comments:

Post a Comment