Visitatio ad limina Apostoloeum


  • Latin: to the thresholds of the Apostles


A duty incumbent on a Catholic bishop to visit from time to time the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul at Rome, in order to honor the institution of Christ in the person of his vicar, to strengthen his own communion and that of his flock with the living center of Christianity, and to report the state of his diocese to the Supreme Pastor and Ruler, was a conviction which had been growing in force for centuries, and had found continuous practical expression in those innumerable visits of bishops to Rome which the annals of the Church record. Pope Leo III ordained that bishops should visit the limina Apostolorum, but without prescribing anything as to the time. In the 16th century the practice assumed the form of a positive law. Pope Sixtus V, by the Constitution “Romanus Pontifex” (1585), ordained that the bishops of Italy, the islands in the Adriatic, and the neighboring parts of Greece, should be bound to visit the limina Apostolorum once in three years; the bishops of France, Spain, England, Germany, and other countries within the North and Baltic Seas, as also of the islands in the Mediterranean, once in four years; all other bishops in Europe and those of Africa, once in five years; and all Asiatic and American bishops, once in ten years. The visit was to be made either in person, or, if a legitimate hindrance intervened, by a suitable proctor or representative.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “Visitatio ad limina Apostoloeum”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2019. Web. 24 June 2021. <>