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Saintly relics and remains within primitive Rome parish restored

2013-08-09

The church ofSan Francesco a Ripa is the first parish in Rome dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. It was built in 1231, at the same place where the saint himself stayed, during his trip to Rome.   

This highly sacred ground is the home to invaluable masterpieces from artists like Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Simon Vouet or Giavanni Battista Gaulli. The church also looks after a wide array of relics and sacred objects under restoration. They include this liturgical ornament, dating from the mid-Eighteenth Century.  

GIANFRANCESCO SOLFERINO 
Conservator, San Francesco a Ripa Church 
"The first thing that will be restored is this magnificent vestment which is partly displayed behind me. It is a tunic, the stoll and a bag, which have been embroidered by master tailors in Catanzaro, Calabria. It represents a vestment dedicated entirely to the Immaculate Conception. The Madonna is not depicted physically, but it features symbols, decorative themes and, above all, floral motifs which are representative of the great mystery of the Immaculate Conception.” 

The veneration of relics dates back to the times of early persecutions of Christians. 

IANFRANCESCO SOLFERINO 
Conservator, San Francesco a Ripa  
"We preserve hundreds of authentic relics. They're relics that range from objects from the Holy Land, to ex ossibus relics from the Apostles, from the first martyrs, and also relics of the most important saints.” 

Restorers are working around the clock to have everything ready for October 2, when the exhibition of restored artifacts will open to the public. Even the date was carefully calculated, since just two days later, on October 4, the Church celebrates the feast day for St. Francis of Assisi. 


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