Trending: urbi et orbi

Lookups spiked 39,000% on March 27, 2020

Why are people looking up urbi et orbi?

Urbi et orbi was among our top lookups on March 27th, 2020, following reports that Pope Francis was to give this kind of blessing.

It will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. This plenary indulgence will also be extended to those who may not be able to participate in the prayer through the media due to illness but who unite themselves in spiritual communion with the prayer. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.
— Lisa Bordoni, Vatican News (, 26 Mar. 2020

What does urbi et orbi mean?

Urbi et orbi is a Latin phrase, and defined as “to the city (Rome) and the world; to everyone.” Although the phrase may be found used in non-ecclesiastical senses (“to everyone”), it is often encountered as a modifier for a papal action, such as a blessing or proclamation. Urbi et orbi blessings by the Pope are rarely performed, typically occurring twice a year.


Having obtained a seat in the musician’s gallery, over the great entrance, I had a good view of this crowded assembly, and never (but once before at Rome, when the Pope gave his benediction “Urbi et Orbi,” and to the vast multitude crowded together before the balcony of the most magnificent temple in the world) did I behold so imposing or awful a sight.
The London Magazine, Jul. 1826

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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