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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Ancient icons on display at Vatican Museum, mixing Orthodox and Catholic styles


According to St. John of Damascus, "the whole Earth is a living icon of the face of God.” As such, this particularly powerful presence of icons has come to the Vatican museums with 33 individual works of art. Through the Belarus icon paintings from the 17th-21st centuries, one can find not only the face of God, but also a merging of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. 

"It is very important for us because we tell about Belarus tradition and about our Christian tradition, which is very important for all people. And this tradition unites us.” 

It is a unity that is displayed in Andrei's paintings, two of which are shown at the exhibit with Roman saints, "Saints Cosmas and Damien” and also "The Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God.”  

This Belarusian style began in the 17th century and has absorbed influences from the western and eastern cultures, giving it a uniqueness not found elsewhere. The early paintings portray spirituality though this unified structure and restrained color range, while more recent icons use a more distinctive form and bright colors.  

Director General of National Art Museum of Belarus 
"There is a difference between the Byzantine and Russian styles. For example, there are faces not as stringent, while you can see that other faces are smiling. We have many landscapes. There are pictures in which landscapes are not usually seen, and yet here they are. There are many everyday items not used by Belarusians and they are present in these icons.”

Biblical stories and characters are featured throughout the exhibition, like this icon of the "Kissing of Joachim and Anne” from the 17th century and this 18th century icon of "Michael the Archangel.” Gold is especially displayed throughout the background and framing, which reflects the historical tradition of metal crafting together with various forms of art.

Director General of National Art Museum of Belarus
"The initial idea for this exhibit was born nine years ago, but when we prepared this exhibition we had to change everything. We had hundreds of large pieces, some two meters, but you see what's here, such small display windows. There was no room for hundreds of icons and so we had to reduce it. They have exhibited 33 icons. They have brought only those that fit in the display cases. The height of the windows has influenced the choice of pieces.”

The exhibition is on display until July 25, and creators hope the ancient traditions and spiritual context will be evident in the eyes of all who witness this event. 

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