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’’Saint Peter and the Vatican: the Legacy of the Popes’’ Begins North American Exhibition; Rare Vatican Art and Objects to Be on View in Three Cities


LOS ANGELES, CA -- Feb. 3, 2005 -- A three-city ’05 -’06 exhibition of Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes, one of the world’s largest collection of Vatican art, documents and historical objects to tour North America, is scheduled for public viewing in Montreal, San Antonio and Milwaukee. Based upon the success of the exhibition presented in four U.S. cities in 2003-2004, the objects will return after a period of conservation in Rome.

More than 300 authentic pieces, as well as several reproductions, trace 2000 years of Catholic leadership, beginning with Saint Peter through Pope John Paul II. The objects, including tiaras, sketches, jewelry, vestments, sculptures and gifts to the popes from notables Napoleon and the Dalai Lama, are on loan from the Vatican, the Vatican Museums, the archives of the Propaganda Fide, the Pontifical Sacristy, the Sistine Chapel, Roman churches administered by the Vatican.

Opening, June 4, 2005 at the Basilica de Notre Dame in Montreal, the exhibition will move to San Antonio in October ’05 and the Milwaukee in February ’06. While the Vatican draws millions of visitors each year to view its art and history, many of these objects have never been on display before, even in Rome.

“We were thrilled at the thousands of people who came to see the exhibition in the previous four cities,” said Peter Radetsky, Ph.D., Content Developer for Clear Channel Exhibitions, the producer of the Vatican exhibit. “The attendees came from many religious denominations, universities and art institutes to admire the various elements of the tour, including history, art, architecture, design and culture.”

Among the most popular and touching objects of the tour is the bronze cast of John Paul II’s hand. Visitors may press their hands against it as they exit, symbolizing personal contact with the pope himself. Highlights of the tour include a fourth century marble headstone; a fifth century fresco of Saint Peter; the Mandylion of Edessa, a fifth century linen painting of the face of Jesus; the original ring of St. Pius X (1903-1914); a jewel-encrusted papal tiara of Pope Pius IX, also worn by Pope John XXIII; a processional cross from the 15th century; a 16th century chalice encrusted with pearls, rock crystal, silver gilt and enamel; the first known map of Australia; a Buddhist devotional cloth, or Thanka, presented by the Dalai Lama for John Paul II; and a crucifix adorned silver pastoral staff of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II.

“This exhibition is about art, history, culture and the Church’s legacy over the last 2000 years,” said Mark Greenberg, president, Clear Channel Exhibitions. “The Vatican has had a profound and dominant affect on society, influencing western culture more than any other source in recorded history. ’Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes’ is a moving tribute to an exquisite assemblage of art and objects associated with our popes.” Greenberg added that the exhibit is not solely about religion, but rather a collection of fine and decorative arts that explores the papacy and its influence on world history.

The objects are on loan from many institutions from Vatican City State including: Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Vatican Museums, the Reverenda Fabbrica of Saint Peter, the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside-the-Walls and the Apostolic Floreria.

“Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes” is produced by Clear Channel Exhibitions. Clear Channel Exhibitions is a world leader in providing high quality, state of the art, educational family experiences and produces exhibitions in collaboration with more than 200 leading museums and research institutions.


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