The First Pope to be Photographed

Just a short post for today!

It’s funny to think that a picture of the pope was once a real event. Photographs of the pope are ubiquitous now, but someone had to be first. And that someone was Pius IX.

As the second longest reigning pontificate, Pius IX was the head of the Church for 32 years. (Who was longest reigning Pope? I’ll tell you at the end of the post, under the pictures.)

Pius IX in a papal train in 1862


Pius IX, pictured in 1864


Pius IX was born on the Adriatic coast of Italy on May 13, 1792 and christened Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti. (It’s fascinating to see pictures of people born in the 1700s. Imagine how much their eyes had seen!)

Here is Pius IX in 1875, on his 82nd birthday. What do you think of his face? What kind of a person do you suppose he was?

Pius IX, photographed May 13, 1875 by Adolphe Braun


Who was the longest reigning pope? St. Peter, the founder of the Church, was the pontiff for thirty-four years!

If you’d like to read more, check out the latest episode of my story about the collapse of the Romanov dynasty! In this episode, we meet the infamous and lecherous Siberian monk Rasputin and explore his strange hold over the Russian royals!