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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

John Paul II and John XXIII depicted in gold, silver and bronze

2014-03-03

The Vatican will mint new coins and stamps dedicated to the canonizations of John Paul II and John XXIII. But people will have to wait until the end of March to get their hands on these prized collectors items.

MAURO OLIVIERI
Director, Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office
"We started with the images that people have closer to their hearts, that show the fondness of these two Popes.”

The Polish Pope's coin, made of gold, can be purchased for 50 euros, or $69. Meanwhile, the Good Pope's silver coin will be 20 euros, or $28.

MAURO OLIVIERI
Director, Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office
"For Pope John XXIII, we show him giving a blessing, with St. Peter's Basilica in the back, and a full moon, a clear reference to that famous speech about the moon. Meanwhile, John Paul II is depicted with a globe behind him, also in mid-blessing, and with a mitre. We wanted to show how many people remember him, traveling to meet with the faithful, across the world.”

The newly-minted coins will be released along with the first Vatican euro coins in 2014, which feature Pope Francis, as well as these two medallions in silver and bronze.

MAURO OLIVIERI
Director, Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office
"John XXIII is represented with the pontifical tiara, which after his pontificate, during the pontificate of Paul VI, was never used again. He was the last one to use it. Meanwhile, John Paul II is shown with, let's call it the bishop's mitre, as the bishop of Rome.

Due to the nature of their unique work, this Vatican department works with the distant future in mind. But any unexpected change like a Pope's death or sede vacante can change their plans completely.

Case and point: this coin to mark the ninth year of Benedict XVI's pontificate, which never came to be. 


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