Behold, the Vatican’s Beautiful National Anthem You’ve Never Heard Before

Nicolas Raymond / Flickr

Did you know Vatican City has its own “national anthem”?

Known as “Inno e Marcia Pontificale” as well as the “Papal Anthem,” it is played to mark the presence of the Pope or one of his representatives and on special occasions. Though it functions as a national anthem for the microstate, the Vatican actually says that it’s not a “national” anthem, but an anthem for all Catholics.

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The music was composed by Charles Gounod in 1869 for Pope Pius IX’s golden jubilee of priestly ordination, and it was made the official papal anthem on October 16, 1949 by Pope Pius XII. Around that time, Antonio Allegra, an organist for St. Peter’s Basilica, wrote lyrics for the music in Italian. In 1991, Raffaello Lavagna wrote a new set of lyrics in Latin.

Here’s a video with the anthem music:

Here are the Italian lyrics translated into English:

O Rome immortal of Martyrs and Saints,

O immortal Rome, accept our praises:

Glory in the heavens to God our Lord,

And peace to men who love Christ!

To You we come, Angelic Pastor,

In You we see the gentle Redeemer,

The Holy Heir of true and holy Faith;

Comfort and refuge of those who believe and fight.

Force and terror will not prevail,

But Truth and Love will reign.

And here are the Latin lyrics translated into English:

O happy Rome – O noble Rome

You are the seat of Peter, who shed his blood in Rome,

Peter, to whom the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given.

Pontiff, You are the successor of Peter;

Pontiff, You are the teacher, you confirm your brethren;

Pontiff, You who are the Servant of the servants of God,

and fisher of men, are the shepherd of the flock,

linking heaven and earth.

Peter, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,

a rock amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;

You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,

watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

Pontiff, you are the unshakable rock, and on this rock

was built the Church of God.

Peter, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,

a rock amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;

You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,

watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

O happy Rome – O noble Rome.

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