Jubilee year

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A Jubilee Year ( Hebrew שנת היובל schenat hajobel ( Latin annus iubilaeus ) or Holy Year ( annus sanctus ) is a special anniversary year in the Roman Catholic Church in which the Pope grants the believers a full indulgence ("Jubilee indulgence ") if certain conditions are met . Boniface VIII proclaimed such a year for the first time in 1300 for pilgrims who came to Rome . The next jubilee year was originally supposed to follow after 100 years, but the gap has been narrowed further and further. From 1475 every 25th year was a jubilee year with a correspondingly large number of visitors to Rome.

The ecclesiastical jubilee year was indirectly linked to the biblical year of remission : every 50 years, debt relief and property compensation for all Israelites ( Lev 25.8-55  EU ). The term "Jubilee Year" or "Jubilee Year" comes from the Hebrew word jobel (יובל), which originally meant " Aries ". The wind instrument, the shofar, was built from ram horns and was to be blown to mark the beginning of a Jubilee year. Therefore, the term jobel was transferred to the instrument and the year of Jubilee opened with it.

The 4th century Latin translation of the Bible, Vulgate, translated the Hebrew shenat hajobel as annus iubilæus . Hence “jubilation”, “jubilee year” and the foreign word anniversary. The colloquial expression “all jubilees” is derived from this , which means “very rarely”, since a person can usually only experience two to three of these jubilee years.


Annunciation of the first holy year by Boniface VIII in 1300 (fresco fragment by Giotto in the Basilica of St. John
Lateran )

The Holy Years of the Roman Catholic Churches emerged from several traditions that were linked to one another until 1300.

In 1126 an annus iubilaeus was celebrated for the consecration of a new cathedral in Santiago (Spain) , during which no indulgences could be obtained. 1189, the 50th year after the death of Bishop Otto von Bamberg , was celebrated there as a year of indulgence and forgiveness. 1220, 50 years after the murder of St. Archbishop Thomas Beckett of Canterbury , Episcopal successor Stephen Langton had the relics of St. Thomas transferred to the newly built Trinity Chapel, invited the faithful to a pilgrimage to Canterbury and combined with the granting of a special indulgence. In doing so, he referred to the biblical year of Jubilee.

Pope Bonifatius VIII proclaimed the first holy year with the bull Antiquorum habet fida relatio on the feast of the Kathedra Petri in 1300. One such event should take place every 100 years from now on as a celebration of the return of the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ . The faithful could gain a perfect indulgence when they received the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist in Rome and passed through the Holy Gates of the Apostle Churches. The reason given by the Pope was that, according to tradition, those who came to St. Peter's Basilica in ancient times for the centenary of the birth of Christ had been granted many graces and indulgences from sins.

Even Klemens VI. In 1343 ordered the return of a holy year every fifty years. Pope Urban VI. reduced the period in 1389 to 33 years, the period of the earthly life of Jesus Christ. Holy Years were celebrated in quick succession in 1390, 1400, 1413, 1423 and 1450, until Pope Paul II in 1470 irrevocably stipulated that Holy Years should be celebrated every 25 years from 1475 so that every generation had the opportunity to experience one. At the same time, the main churches in Rome and the cathedrals in the various countries were designated as representatives of St. Peter's Church in Rome and, under the specified conditions, granted indulgences to all their visitors, just as perfect indulgences as those who had devoted 14 days to their devotions in St. Peter's Church.

The eighth Holy Year 1500 was opened for the first time with the rite that has been customary since then: On Christmas Eve the Pope opens the Holy Door , a solid marble slab, which has been broken into St. Peter's Basilica , solemnly with several blows of a golden hammer and speaks a blessing. The gate opens, the Pope is the first to pass, and the faithful follow. At the end of the Holy Year, the Holy Door will be closed again. The holy doors of the three other patriarchal basilicas in Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore , San Giovanni in Laterano and San Paolo fuori le Mura , are also opened at the beginning of the holy year and closed again at the end of the year.

Holy years

number date Opening Pope particularities
1 1300 Boniface VIII probably Dante Alighieri's participation
2 1350 Clement VI. Participation of St. Birgitta of Sweden and Francesco Petrarcas
3 1390 Urban VI. Introduction of the visit to the four patriarchal basilicas and the period of 33 years
4th 1400 Boniface IX was sometimes not counted
4th 1413 Gregory XII.
5 1423 Martin V. followed from 1390 the period of 33 years
6th 1450 Nicholas V. Bishop Nikolaus von Kues took part and announced the granting of indulgences
7th 1475 Paul II Construction of the Ponte Sisto under Pope Sixtus IV.
8th 1500 Alexander VI. Introduction of the rite to open a Holy Year
9 1525 Clement VII Prohibition of selling indulgences ; Sharp criticism of the reformers at the indulgence practice
10 1550 Paul III Participation of Ignatius von Loyola and Philipp Neri under Pope Julius III.
11 1575 Gregory XIII. Participation of St. Charles Borromeo . Introduction of the visit to the seven Roman pilgrimage churches
12 1600 Clement VIII Participation of Robert Bellarmin and Cesare Baronio
13 1625 Urban VIII. -
14th 1650 Innocent X. -
15th 1675 Clement X. -
16 1700 Innocent XII. celebrated also under Pope Clement XI.
17th 1725 Benedict XIII. Construction of the Spanish Steps
18th 1750 Benedict XIV. Introduction of the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum
19th 1775 Clement XIV. celebrated under Pope Pius VI.
1800: Failure due to the death of Pius VI. 1799 in French captivity, election of Pius VII only in March 1800
20th 1825 Leo XII. -
1850: failure because Pius IX. fled Rome from republican revolutionaries from November 1848 to March 1850
21st 1875 Pius IX Not committed because of Italy's annexation of the Papal States
22nd 1900 Leo XIII. -
23 1925 Pius XI. Introduction of the feast of Christ the King
24 1950 Pius XII. Proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in Heaven
25th 1975 Paul VI Motto: "Renewal and Reconciliation"
26th 2000 John Paul II Prepared with the apostolic letter Tertio millennio adveniente , extended until January 6, 2001 to celebrate the entry into the 21st century. Motto: "Christ yesterday, today and forever"

Extraordinary Holy Years

Apart from the ordinary holy years, some popes also proclaimed extraordinary holy years on other occasions:

date Opening Pope occasion
1518 Leo X. Strengthening Poland in the fight against the Turks
1826 Leo XII. Extension to the entire world (Encyclical Charitate Christi )
1854 Pius IX extraordinary holy year for the introduction of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception
1858 Pius IX extraordinary holy year
1867 Pius IX extraordinary holy year to celebrate the return of the year of the martyrdom of hll. Apostles Peter and Paul
1869 Pius IX First Vatican Council
March 2 - June 1, 1879 Leo XIII. extraordinary holy year at the beginning of the pontificate
March 19 - November 1, 1881 Leo XIII. -
March 19 - November 1 or December 31, 1886 Leo XIII. -
1913 Pius X. -
1929 Pius XI. for the golden jubilee of priests
April 2, 1933 - April 2, 1934 Pius XI. first extraordinary holy year to celebrate the return of the year of human redemption
1954 Pius XII. first Marian year
1966 Paul VI Completion of the Second Vatican Council
June 29, 1967 - June 30, 1968 Paul VI Celebration of the return of the year of the martyrdom of St. Apostles Peter and Paul
March 25, 1983 - Easter Sunday 1984 John Paul II extraordinary holy year of redemption (cf. also Salvifici doloris )
Pentecost 1987 - August 15, 1988 John Paul II second Marian year
December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016 Francis extraordinary holy year of mercy , proclaimed with the bull Misericordiae vultus ; on the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council

While the original holy year referred to the return of the birth of Christ, 1933 marked a year to commemorate the "completion of our redemption". Pius XI. declared on the feast of the apparition in 1933 in the apostolic constitution Quod nuper that it was “actually a bigger, yes, the greatest anniversary”.

Other churches

The celebration of a Holy Year was also allowed to a few other important basilicas and monasteries: the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela , the Basilica of Caravaca de la Cruz , the Convent of Santo Toribio de Liébana and the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi .

See also


  • Eva-Maria Jung-Inglessis : The holy year in history: 1300–1975. Bolzano 1974
  • Eva-Maria Jung-Inglessis: Journey to Rome through two millennia. 2nd expanded edition, Bozen 1978
  • Peter Louis (Ed.): Anno Santo 1950 - with the communications of the German National Committee for the Holy Year . Echter-Verlag Würzburg. The book brings together 15 monthly issues that appeared from November 1949 to January 1951.
  • Werner Chrobak : Holy year: where from - where to? Echo Buchverlag, 1999, ISBN 3-927095-43-5 .
  • Stefan Heid : Solidarity Church. German pilgrimages to the captured Popes Pius IX. and Leo XIII. In: Stefan Heid, Karl-Joseph Hummel (ed.): Papalism and patriotism. The Campo Santo Teutonico: Place of the Germans in Rome between Risorgimento and First World War (1870–1918) (= Roman quarterly for Christian antiquity and church history , supplement 65). Herder, Freiburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-451-38130-0 , pp. 186-232.

Web links

Commons : Jubilee year  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: jubilee year  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gerhard Maier, Fritz Rienecker: Lexicon for the Bible: More than 6000 key words on people, history, archeology and geography of the Bible. Scm R. Brockhaus, 2010, ISBN 3-417-24678-4 , limited preview in the Google book search; Donald Guthrie, J. Alec Motyer: Commentary on the Bible: OT and NT in one volume. Scm R. Brockhaus, 2012, ISBN 3-417-24740-3 , limited preview in the Google book search; Thomas Krüger: The human heart and God's instruction: studies on Old Testament anthropology and ethics. Theological Verlag, Zurich 2009, ISBN 3-290-17535-9 , limited preview in the Google book search
  2. Heribert Smolinsky: Jubeljahr II , in: Theologische Realenzyklopädie Volume 17: Jesus Christ - Catechism Sermon. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-11-011506-9 , p. 282
  3. Duden online: every jubilee year
  4. Jörg Buchna: Every jubilee is not the real Jacob: Biblical idioms. (2003) Brune-Mettcker, 5th edition 2007, ISBN 3-87542-043-8 ( online excerpt ; PDF; 368 kB)
  5. ^ A b Ludwig Schmugge: 1413 - The forgotten holy year. In: Hagen Keller, Werner Paravicini, Wolfgang Schieder (eds.): Italia et Germania: Liber Amicorum Arnold Esch. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-484-80157-3 , pp. 191-198
  6. ^ Article Jubeljahr II / 2 , in: Theologische Realenzyklopädie Volume 17 , Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-11-011506-9 , p. 283 ; The great chronicle of world history Volume 15: The First World War and its consequences: 1914–1932. 2008, ISBN 3-577-09075-8 , p. 266
  7. ^ Christiane Nesselrath; Arnold Nesselrath: The coat of arms of the archpriest at the Lateran Basilica or How Bramante came to Rome . In: Italia et Germania: Liber Amicorum Arnold Esch, p. 293 (291-317) online
  8. Article Jubeljahr II / 2 , in: Theologische Realenzyklopädie Volume 17 , Berlin 1988, p. 283
  9. ^ Mercedes Gordon: Juan Pablo II inaugura el Año Santo de la Redención . In: Ya , March 26, 1983, p. 33.
  10. ^ Pius XI :: Apostolic Constitution .
    Eva-Maria Jung-Inglessis: Journey to Rome through two millennia , 1978, p. 316.