50 Years ago: the Pope received the Balzan Prize

50 years ago, May 11, 1963, Pope John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) entered the Quirinal Palace in Rome to attend the Balzan Awards Ceremony. It was the first time since 1870 that a Roman Pontiff had crossed the threshold of the former papal palace, now the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic but which for more than three centuries had been a papal summer residence. He was received by the President Antonio Segni who during the ceremony proceeded to award the other four Balzan Prizes: to Karl von Frisch (Biology), Paul Hindemith (Music), Andrei Kolmogorov (Mathematics) and Samuel Eliot Morison (History).
The presence of the Pope was an historic and quite unexpected event, since the Balzan Prize for Peace, Humanity and Fraternity among Peoples had already been awarded to the Pope the day before (May 10) in St. Peter’s, by Giovanni Gronchi, Chairman of the International Balzan Foundation and former President of the Italian Republic, with this motivation: "For having contributed to maintaining peaceful relations between Nations, encouraging mutual understanding among peoples and establishing contacts outside the Christian community".
This was also the last public engagement of Pope John XXIII, who died at the age of eighty-two, just a few days later, June 3, 1963.

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