Follow usTwitterFacebook

Latest

27 Apr 2016 Europe Comments (2)

Austrian bishop refuses to allow border fence for keeping out refugees on Church property

Bishop Agidius Zsfikovics said he understood people's concerns, but the Christian answer could not be fences and walls An Austrian bishop said the government m…

Read more

02 Jun 2015 Vatican No comments

Liverpool stages biggest Marian procession in decades

Last Saturday’s Marian procession in Liverpool was the biggest for decades, according to organiser Jim Ross. Over 500 people took part, more than twice as many …

Read more

27 Jun 2016 Americas Asia-Pacific Australia Europe Middle East News USA Vatican No comments

Former Holy Land ‘custos’ named apostolic administrator of Jerusalem

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem and appointed Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, former “custos” of…

Read more

02 Jun 2015 Vatican No comments

The devil knows Christians are one, says Pope Francis

While Christians may think of themselves as divided into different churches and denominations, the devil actually sees that they are one in their faith in Jesus…

Read more

05 Sep 2014 Vatican No comments

Peres says Francis only leader capable of ending today's wars

Peres said that “perhaps for the first time in history, the Holy Father is a leader who’s respected, not just by a lot of people, but also by different religion…

Read more

02 Jun 2015 Vatican No comments

Cardinal Pell: I did not try to bribe child abuse victim

Cardinal George Pell has strongly denied allegations that he tried to bribe a victim of clerical child abuse, that he ignored another victim’s complaint, and th…

Read more

29 Jun 2016 Americas Europe News USA Vatican Comments (1)

Pope Francis prays for victims of Istanbul airport attack

Pope Francis has prayed for the victims and family members of the Istanbul airport attack that took place on Tuesday. The Pope expressed his condolences duri…

Read more

10 Sep 2014 USA No comments

Amid mounting religious freedom threats, role of laity highlighted

Phoenix, Ariz., Sep 10, 2014 / 04:35 am .- As domestic religious freedom threats reach unprecedented levels, the lay faithful must play an active role in promot…

Read more

09 Sep 2016 News No comments

Nun murdered in drive-by shooting

The other sisters were 'in a state of shock.' As the world turned its focus on Rome for the canonization of Mother Teresa last weekend, another religious sis…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Italians restore 900-year-old mosaics at Bethlehem church

An Italian team has completed restoration of Crusader-era mosaics in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The mosaics will only be unveiled publicly after work on lighting, electricity and a fire alarm system.

The work involved removing the layers of centuries-worth of soot and dirt – a result of the smoke of candles lit by pilgrims coming to venerate the site traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus – from about 1.55 million tiny mosaic pieces that were reviewed and restored.

“I think all the churches want to save this church because here Jesus was born,” said Giammarco Piacenti, CEO of Piacenti restoration centre, which began work on the church starting with the rotting wooden roof in April 2013. “It is important for all Christianity. For my professional life, this occasion is incredible.”

Only 1,400 square feet of mosaics remain from the original 21,528 square feet that adorned the wall, he noted. The others were destroyed by rain leaking through the roof, he said.

Made of stone, mother of pearl, and glass and gold leaf, the mosaics portray different scenes in the life of Jesus and the church, including the disbelief of Thomas, the Assumption and Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Piacenti said the mosaic of the disbelief of Thomas shows the date of 1155 and the names Ephraim and Basilius, presumably artisans who created the work. Some pieces of the mosaics remain missing and will not be replaced, he said, based on the theory of restoration that there should be a minimum of intervention on any piece.
“Really, it is only conservation,” he said.

One special moment came when restorers cleared away plaster from the wall bordering the roof in the main section of the church and discovered a seventh mosaic of a golden angel, in addition to the six they already knew existed. The angels’ arms gently direct pilgrims toward the grotto traditionally thought to be the site where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

During the Ottoman Empire, the angels’ faces were disfigured with gunshots to the nose and so here the missing pieces have been replaced, said Piacenti.

Both Islam and Judaism prohibit graven human images.

“They were shot in the nose to destroy, to kill them,” Piacenti said. Restoration gave them “a second life.”

The Church of the Nativity is shared by the Franciscans, and the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox churches. It is governed by the traditional Status Quo, the 1852 agreement that preserves the division of ownership and responsibilities of various Christian holy sites. In years past, the denominations have been known to jealously guard over their sections of the church, to the extent of fist fights breaking out over who could clean which part of the stone floor.

Relations among the churches have become progressively more cordial over the past decade, and the three churches were able to come together under the auspices of a special committee formed by the Palestinian National Authority. Through joint discussions they reached a working agreement permitting the much-needed restorations on the Church of the Nativity to begin.

Once funds are raised, the next stage of the project will include restoration of the church’s 50 pillars and the study and restoration of the church floor and the mosaics underneath.

The different denominations have come to similar agreements in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, allowing for restoration projects to begin there as well.









wpsd_autopost:
1

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories