Pope Leo XIII dies

Leo XIII was the first Pope to be born in the 19th century.

He was also the first to die in the 20th century: he lived to the age of 93, the longest living pope. At the time of his death, Leo XIII was the second-longest reigning pope, exceeded only by his immediate predecessor, Pius IX. Leo was not entombed in St. Peter's Basilica, as all popes after him were, but instead at St. John Lateran, a church in which he took a particular interest.

Grave and serious in manner, speaking slowly, but with energetic gestures, simple and abstemious in his life -- his daily bill of fare being reckoned as hardly costing a couple of francs -- Leo XIII distributed large sums in charity, and at his own charges placed costly astronomical instruments in the Vatican observatory, providing also accommodation and endowment for a staff of officials. He always showed the greatest interest in science and in literature, and he would have taken a position as a statesman of the first rank had he held office in any secular government. He may be reckoned the most illustrious pope since Benedict XIV, and under him the papacy acquired a prestige unknown since the middle ages. On the 3rd of March 1903 he celebrated his jubilee in St. Peter's with more than usual pomp and splendor; he died on the 20th of July following. His successor was Pope Pius X.