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(Vatican Radio) Anyone who has visited the Vatican Museums will have inevitably walked through the Gallery of Maps which so happens to lead towards the Sistine Chapel. This long corridor is, however, a jewel in itself and has now been lovingly restored in a project that has lasted four years.The frescos are a geographical feast for the eye which represent Italian regions and papal properties.The gallery was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1581. It then underwent changes under Pope Urban VIII between 1632 and 1637. There are 40 maps in all which were illustrated by artists of the day including Ignazio Danti, Matthijs and Paul Bril and Cesare Nebbia.So what prompted this restoration project? The Deputy Director of the Vatican Museums, Professor Arnold Nesselrath explains. “It badly needed work because with 6 million people going through this long corridor in the course of the year causing the vibration, the plaster gets loose on the walls, there is a risk of it falling do...
Escalating violence across Syria, which has seen a fragile truce agreement unravel and peace talks collapse, could release new levels of horror, the United Nations human rights chief warned on Friday, saying all parties have shown a "monstrous disregard" for civilian lives.  "The cessation of hostilities and the Geneva talks were the only game in town, and if they are abandoned now, I dread to think how much more horror we will see in Syria," U.N. ‎High ‎Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement, urging all sides to step back from a return to all-out war.  "The violence is soaring back to the levels we saw prior to the cessation of hostilities. There are deeply disturbing reports of military build-ups indicating preparations for a lethal escalation," Zeid said.  Peace talks in Geneva aimed to end a war that has created the world's worst refugee crisis, allowed for the rise of Islamic S...
India’s minority Christian community has come under attack again, and this time it is a Catholic bishop who is the victim.  Matters India news website on Thursday quoted the Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), saying Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah was attacked by unidentified persons when he was returning from a religious function at Karunagari in Kadapa district.   The incident took place on April 25 but was made public only on Thursday.  “It is unbelievable that such a violent atrocity is perpetrated on a high ranking religious leader of a minority community,” said Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad, the president of FTC, the apex body of various Christian denominations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states‎.   Bishop Gallela and his car driver were “blind folded, forcibly confined and brutally attacked for several hours stretching through the night,” Arcbishop Bala said.  He condemned &ldq...
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Weekend for April 30, 2016 features our weekly report on the general audience of Pope Francis with pilgrims from across the world and a special feature to mark 'International Labour Day' in which we shine the spotlight on Pope Francis and Saint Joseph the worker. The second part of the programme is dedicated to the two twentieth century popes who were canonised by Pope Francis on Divine Mercy Sunday 2014. As you'll have guessed they are Saints John Paul II and John XXIII.A programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick: 
(Vatican Radio) It was announced by the Vatican this week that Ireland is to get a new Blessed. He is the Venerable John Sullivan SJ who was a convert to Catholicism and known for his work with the sick.But what else do we know about him? Fr Sullivan’s story began in 1861 when he was born into a prominent family in Dublin. His father was a Protestant  barrister who would become Lord Chancellor of Ireland. His mother was a Catholic from an important land-owning family.John was, therefore, baptized a Protestant and sent to Portora Royal School where excelled as a student.His education progressed to Trinity College, Dublin, followed by law. He practiced for a time as a barrister. In Dublin he was a frequent visitor to the Hospice of the Dying at Harold’s Cross, bringing comfort, companionship and small tokens of food, drink and clothing to the suffering. He became a teacher and would continue bringing gifts of luxuries to the poor, including tobacco, tea, sugar, and ...
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis last Sunday launched a Europe-wide extraordinary collection aimed at helping those people suffering from the war in Ukraine. The proceeds from that collection went to the Vatican’s dicastery for humanitarian relief efforts, the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’.A special commission was instituted within the organization for the distribution of the collection, which aims to ease the humanitarian situation in Ukraine for the benefit of the entire population.Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, Secretary of Cor Unum, just returned to Rome from Ukraine and spoke to Vatican Radio’s Roberto Piermarini about the collection.Basic needs of allIn the interview, Msgr. Dal Toso said his recent visit to Ukraine helped to identify the people and structures with whom Cor Unum can work to best aid the suffering population.“I spent the last few days in Kiev to identify those persons and that minimum of structure needed to realize in loco [on locat...
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Weekend for May 1, 2016  features our weekly selection of readings and reflections on the Sunday Gospel presented by Jill Bevilacqua for her series 'There's More in the Sunday Gospel than Meets the Eye'. This is followed by a musical meditation on the Second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary and a conversation with our popular 'Latin Lover' focusing on the gardens Pope Paul III  once had designed on Rome's Palatine Hill together with a refuge for birds.A programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick: 
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Waves of campaign staffers are being dispatched to battleground states. Advisers are starting to consider locations for a splashy convention rally in Philadelphia. An army of lawyers is scrutinizing more than two dozen possible vice presidential picks....
BURLINGAME, Calif. (AP) -- Donald Trump, the outsider, made his case to California's Republican establishment on Friday as protesters shadowed him from the southern to northern ends of the state and clashed with police....
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- The Syrian army and rebels unleashed deadly new attacks on each other Friday in Aleppo, with insurgents shelling a mosque during weekly prayers and government airstrikes hitting opposition neighborhoods in escalating bloodshed the U.N. decried as a "monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties."...
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