Close this search box.

DECODE: A pope’s blessing: ‘Urbi et Orbi’

by Jericho Zafra

Recently updated on February 7, 2023 05:40 pm

“TO the city (of Rome) to the world”

According to historical documents, the rite of the papal blessing known as “Urbi et Orbi” was developed during the reign of Pope Gregory X in the 13th century. The Catholic Encyclopedia said that this tradition is a distinctive apostolic blessing the Pope bestows on Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, and other important religious holidays and events annually.

The Italian Traditions report said that Urbi et Orbi benedictions are often delivered at midday from the central loggia of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. These blessings are then transmitted all over the world via the European Broadcasting Union as well as other media. The message comes to a close with greetings in various languages related to the celebration that was just honored, it said.

The phrase could also be used in Italian to refer to an announcement that is brought to everyone’s attention once it has been made public

The Pope, on the other hand, calls all members of the Church “sons and daughters” when he uses this phrase. 

Its purpose is to indicate that the message is addressed not only to the people inside the Basilica, but also to the entire Catholic community as a way to unite its members  located all over the world through television, radio, and other platforms, it said.

Every year, thousands of devout Catholics from Italy and other countries travel to Rome for Easter or Christmas to attend the Holy Mass presided over by the Pope and spend  the special occasion in the city.

During the December 2021 Urbi et Orbi blessing, Pope Francis dedicated the benedictions to all victims of wars in Syria, Palestine, Ukraine, and other countries that faced political turmoils during the birth of Jesus.

“Dear brothers and sisters, amid all the many problems of our time, hope prevails, ‘for to us a child is born’ (Is 9:6). He is the word of God, who became an infant, capable only of crying, and in need of help for everything. He wished to learn how to speak, like every other child, so that we might learn to listen to God, our Father, to listen to one another and to dialogue as brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said during the blessing.

The Pope also reminded the Catholic community that God is with them, and called on everyone to pray for the healing of the sick and to motivate all people of good intent to overcome the current health emergency.

Banner Photo Credit: Vatican News



We have the stories you’ll want to read.

RepublicAsia Newsletter