RELIGION

Oldest Pope Video Ever Made Shows Pope Francis Wasn't The First Tech-Savvy Pontiff

06/21/2014 11:37 pm ET | Updated Jun 21, 2014

Pope Francis has been a real social media blessing for the Catholic Church with his informal demeanor and off-the-cuff remarks resounding across Facebook and Twitter. But he wasn't the first pontiff to embrace new technology, as this video shows.

This 1896 clip of Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican is likely the first video ever recorded of a pope, says U Catholic, who posted it. Though grainy, it shows him blessing the camera, according to Aleteia. The recording was done by William Kennedy Dickson, who invented an early motion picture camera.

The audio in the second part is Pope Leo XIII chanting the Ave Maria in Latin, and is the oldest known audio recording of a pope. Leo XIII served as pontiff until the age of 93, making him the oldest ever pope. He had the third longest pontificate and was known for developing many important social teachings of the modern church with his Rerum Novarum encyclical.

In a world where every little one of Pope Francis' doings, from the profound to the mundane, is broadcasted by the media, it's refreshing to see the evidence of a time when video was a total novelty.

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