Benedict XIII

A brief biography.

Pietro Francesco Orsini, born 2nd February 1649 to Ferdinand Rossini and Giovanna Frangipani of Sulpha, belonged to the archducal family of Orsini-Gravina.

At the age of sixteen during a visit to Venice he entered the Dominican novitiate against the will of his mother and the members of the family. As student and novice, the young prince was a model of humility and zeal, and devoted himself to the acquisition of ecclesiastical learning.

At the age of twenty-one he was promoted to a professorship. On 22 February 1672, he was elevated to cardinal by his relative Clement X.  He protested strenuously against the honour, but was compelled to accept it under the vow of obedience by the General of the Dominicans, at the insistence of the pope.

As cardinal he adhered strictly to the observance of the rule of his order, and never laid aside his habit. In 1675 having the choice between the Archbishopric of Salerno and that of Manfredonia (Siponto) he chose the latter because it was a poor diocese and required great exercise of pastoral zeal.

His sister, and two of his nieces embraced the religious life in the Third Order of St. Dominic.

During the conclave that followed the death of Clement X (1676), he was one of the bands of cardinals known as the zelanti who had agreed that no considerations of worldly prudence would influence them in the choice of a new pope.

In 1680, when Innocent XI  transferred him to Cesena, he left to the people of Siponto a memorial of his apostolic activity, his devotion to the poor and his constant preaching.

In 1686, a serious illness, attributed by his physicians to the climate, caused his transfer to Benevento, where he remained for thirty-eight years or until he was elected pope. He built hospitals and strove incessantly for the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor.

Twice during his episcopate (5 June, 1688, and 14 March, 1702) Benevento was visited by earthquakes and on these occasions his courage, his active charity in behalf of the stricken inhabitants, and his energy in the reconstruction of the city, won for him the title of the "Second Founder" of Benevento. He held two provincial synods, the first in 1693 attended by eighteen bishops, the second in 1698, with an attendance of twenty. a

Cardinal Orsini had already taken part in four conclaves, when Innocent XIII died in March, 1724. Against his oft repeated protestations he was proclaimed Pope on 29 May, 1724 and took in honour of the Dominican Pope Benedict XI the name of Benedict XIV, which he shortly changed to Benedict XIII as Peter de Luna who had previously borne the name (1394-1423) was a schismatic. His first concern as Pope was to enforce rigidly ecclesiastical discipline.
In order to encourage the foundation of diocesan seminaries, he organized a special commission (Congregatio Seminariorum).

In diplomatic matters and in his relations with foreign powers Benedict did not exhibit the vigour and conservatism, which marked his administration in religious matters. Benedict canonized Agnes of Montepulciano in 1726.


In February 1730, a plague was raging in Italy. He contracted the plague, and he died 21st February 1730 in Rome. He was buried in the Dominican church Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome in a tomb (1734) by the Italian sculptor Pietro Bracci (26.06.1700-13.02.1773). He was - together with Filippo della Valle - the pupil of Camillo Rusconi, and applied more painterly effects than his master and the other pupils by using multi-coloured marble.

Benedict's theological writings were published in three volumes (Ravenna, 1728).





Pietro Francesco Vicenzo Maria Orsini 02.02.1649- profession O.P. 1667, - Pope Benedict XIII, 29.05.1724-21.02.1730. He is buried in the Dominican church Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome in a tomb (1734) by Pietro Bracci (26.061703-13.02.1773).


Ajman 1971, Mi 1005.




Benedict XIII: Pietro Francesco Vicenzo Maria Orsini  02.02.1649- profession O.P. 1667, - Pope 29.05.1724-21.02.1730.He is buried in the Dominican church Santa Maria sopra Minerva,  Rome.


Antigua and Barbuda 2000, Mi 4281, Sc 2376, b.                   ON ORDER





Benedict XIII: Pietro Francesco Vicenzo Maria Orsini  02.02.1649- professed O.P. 1667, - Pope 29.05.1724-21.02.1730. He is buried in the Dominican church Santa Maria sopra Minerva,  Rome.

Vatican City 1974, KimCover Paulus VI
nr 490. Hist. Fil. Doc. nr  529.





In 1725 Benecict XIII announced the 17th Holy Year. On this cover the text: Benedict XIII, the Dominican pope, celebrates the Holy Year, fidelity to the spirit of his Order with simplicity and averse from hypocriticall externalities. - - In this Holy Year he liberates 370 slaves.


Vatican City 1974. KimCover Paulus VI nr 518. Historric Philatelic Documents nr 569.




Benedict XIII: Pietro Francesco Vicenzo Maria Orsini, 02.02.1649- profession O.P. 1667, - Pope 29.05.1724-21.02.1730. He is buried in the Dominican church Santa Maria sopra Minerva,  Rome. On the stamp the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XIII: the stemma mantelata with the dog.


Vatican City 1999, Mi 1276.  KimCover PW 1497.

Postmark with the face of the Pope Benedict XIII.








Vatican City 1999, Mi  , Sc 1102.

With postmark Rome 23.III.1999 FDC









Front of the church San Paolo fuori le mura at Rome.

In this church a series of medallions with a picture of the Popes.
Also the Dominican
Popes:Innocent V, Pope 21.01.1276-22.06.1276:
Benedict XI,
Pope 22.10.1303-07.07.1304; Pius V, Pope 07.01.1566-01.05.1572; Benedict XIII, Pope 29.-05.1724-21.02.1730, buried in

the Dominican church Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.

Vatican City 2000, Mi 1326
, Sc 1140.



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