The Oratio Dominica was published by Bodoni in Parma in 1806, to celebrate Pope Pius VIl’s journey to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. Besides a preface by Bodoni himself, in French, ltalian, and Latin, and a dedicadon to Prince Eugène de Beauharnais, who had financed it, the work contains translations of the Lord’s Prayer into 155 languages the largest catalogue of alphabets and typographical characters ever published.
Bodoni personally cut the punches and prepared the matrices for the work. Each page is a masterpiece of elegance and typographical structure, and the magical procession of unfamiliar letters in the remote languages increases the fascination of this unique book.
The Ricci edition was created to celebrate a second papal journey after the Napoleonic one. To the facsimile of Bodoni’s Oratio a second volume has therefore been added, devoted to Paul Vl’s speech for world peace to the United Nations (1965) The papal text has been hand set in the most sumptuous and classical “papal” type, designed by Bodoni in the last years of his life and practically never used. The volume is presented by U Thant, then secretary generai of the United Nations, whose introductory text has been hand set in Bodoni’s originai ”chancery” type. The edition is in seven hundred numbered copies on paper especially prepared at Fabriano, with the papal coat of arms in watermark.
Eight copies of this historic work were signed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, a unique event in the world of fine books.