The “Inno e Marcia Pontificale” is the first official anthem of the Vatican after a work known as the “Gran Marcia Trionfale” [Great Triumphal March] by Vittorino Hallmayr, the bandmaster of an Austrian regiment located in Rome, was used on an unofficial basis. The “Inno e Marcia Pontificale” is performed in the presence of: the Pope; one of his special legates; or on occasion of presentation of Credential Letters by a papal nuncio. The music by noted composer Charles-François Gounod was written in 1857 for the jubille anniversary of pope Pius IX. Originally, the anthem had Italian lyrics, Latin lyrics were created later (and slightly modified in 1993) as a way for Catholics around the world to sing it in a common language, and the Italian lyrics are no longer used. The Latin lyrics were by a Catholic priest, who took inspiration from scripture passages about St. Peter (the first Pope in Catholic tradition). According to the Vatican, the “Inno e Marcia Pontificale” is not to be understood as a national anthem, but rather as a hymn that speaks to Roman Catholics worldwide; in practice, however, it serves as the anthem for the Vatican State.
Special thanks to: Justin Mansfield for help with the translation.