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St. Giovanni Leonardi buried in the church where the Koran was translated from Arab to Latin

2012-10-08

DAVIDE CARBONARO
Clerks Regular of the Mother of God
"St. Giovanni Leonardi had this vision, of forming an order composed by a group of priests, who followed certain characteristics. As a rule, they were to live together and then, they were to openly, not rigidly, proclaim the Gospel in a dynamic way.”

St. Giovanni Leonardi was from Lucca, where he was studying to be a pharmacist. He decided to become a priest and move to Rome. Eventually he founded the Order in 1574.

The Church is surrounded by impressive architecture, even for Rome's standards. From high ceilings to intricate details. Onlookers come and marvel through the Church every day.

But visitors usually don't get to see this room, where translations of the Quran are kept. Late Father Louis Maracci, who was a member of the Order, translated the text, back in the 1600's, after Pope Innocent XI, commissioned him to do so.  To this day these writings symbolize a historic turning point of inter-religious dialogue.

DAVIDE CARBONARO
Clerks Regular of the Mother of God
"The translation of the Quaran, from Arab to Latin was done by Father Maracci, who was part of this Order here at the Santa Maria di Campitelli. He was called to do this because he knew Arab, Hebrew and really all Oriental languages.”

Even though Leonardi, didn't live to see this feat, it's said, it was a major project he often pushed for. He was beatified in 1861 and was later canonized on April 17, 1938. But the question is, how and why is this saint still relevant?

DAVIDE CARBONARO
Clerks Regular of the Mother of God
"So many people can now revisit these sites on a type of spiritual pilgrimage. It's part of a religious map of how Rome was from 1500's to 1700's. It's still relevant, especially for people who follow the charisma, the gifts and testimony of this living saint.”

Now through this Church, years of history and teachings come alive, day after day....


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