Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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Blessing of the Animals ceremony in Rome

Tradition is marked in Vatican and across Italy.

Italian farmers celebrate the feast day of St Anthony Abbot or Antonio Abate, the patron saint and protector of animals, on Wednesday 17 January 2024.

The event is marked in Rome with an open-air stable set up by the Italian Association of Livestock Farmers (AIA) at Piazza Pio XII in front of St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

This traditional assembly of horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and hens is open to all and is scheduled to take place from 09.00 until about 14.00.

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The Archpriest of St Peter’s, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, will celebrate a Mass for the farmers and their families in the basilica at 11.00.

This is traditionally followed by a procession led by police on horseback, along Via della Conciliazione, after which Cardinal Gambetti imparts a blessing on all animals present.

St Anthony Abbot

In addition to animals and farmers, St Anthony Abbot is the patron saint of basket weavers and grave diggers, and is believed to protect against skin diseases, especially shingles.

The saint, who died in Egypt in 356, has always enjoyed a widespread following among Italy’s agricultural communities.

According to an ancient legend from the Veneto region in northern Italy, on the night of 17 January animals acquired the ability to speak.

On this night each year, it is said that people were kept away from stables because to hear the animals talk was considered a bad omen.

For full details of the Rome event on 17 January see the AIA website.

General Info

Address Piazza San Pietro, Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

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Blessing of the Animals ceremony in Rome

Piazza San Pietro, Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

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Ambrit 1920 x 190
Ambrit 1920 x 190
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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia