00 9/3/2009 2:35 PM


Posted 9/1/09 in BENEDICT XVI NEWS:


The new bronze doors
of St. Lawrence Cathedral

by Mons. Salvatore Del Ciuco

To give Viterbo an indelible record of the happy event of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the City of Popes, Mons. Lorenzo Chiarinelli, Bishop of Viterbo, wanted his longtime project of new bronze doors for the Cathedral of St. Lawrence to be finally completed.

In 2005, he inaugurated the central door, shown below, called the Door of Light, executed by artist Roberto Joppolo.

The door takes its name from the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, which are represented on the superior part of the door, 'radiating' from the central Cross and symbolizing the rays of light offered to the world by the Sacrifice of Christ - Christ is 'our Light and teh Light of the world".

Panels represent the Luminous Mysteries from the public life of Christ: The baptism of Jesus, the marriage at Cana, the Sermon on the Mount (announcement of the Kingdom), the Transfiguration of Jesus, and the institution of the Eucharist.

The lower part of the door features the two patron saints of Viterbo, St. Rose and St. Lawrence, depicted life-size on the left and right door panels. The central figures are the 12 cardinals who met in 1268 and had to be forced under lock and key - the first true 'Conclave' - to make up their minds and elect a Pope after three years of indecision.

New for Benedict XVI's visit are the side doors that complete Maestro Joppolo's triptych, and recount the historic reunification in 1986 of five dioceses into the Diocese of Viterbo, depicting the four co-cathedrals of the unified diocese, with the motto, 'Ex multis gentibus, unum corpus sumus' [Of many peoples, we are one body).

The left door carries on the upper left side the coat of arms of Pope Benedict; at bottom left is St. Bonaventure with his native town of Bagnoregio in the background, and on the right side, the facade of the Cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre in Acquapendente with the Madonna del Fiore. The center of the panel is a replica of a window from the co-cathedral of St. Martin in Cimino.

The right door has the coat of arms of Mons. Chiarinelli on the upper right corern; on the lower left side, the facade of the Shrine of the Madonna della Quercia and the image itself of the miraculous Virgin Mary who is the patron saint of the entire diocese; and on the right, the dome of Santa Margherita of Montefiascone and the latter city's patron saint Lucia di Filippini. In the center, the rose window from San Pietro in Tuscania.

Pope Benedict XVI will bless the new doors that symbolize the diocesan consolidation of 1986 and Mons. Chiarinelli's dream to leave Viterbo with a fitting artistic work and perennial reminder of the Pope's visit.

Viterbo's Cathedral Square, Piazza San Lorenzo. The fish eye view, top panel, shows the Cathedral in the center, and to its right, the complex of the Palace of the Popes. Bottom panel shows the Cathedral itself, and the Palace of the Popes with its famous Loggia. Pope Benedict will address the people of Viterbo from this vantage upon arriving in the city next Sunday.

'Viterbo and the Popes':
A book for Benedict XVI

Adapted and translated from

Upper right photo shows a note written by one of the cardinals locked in the first Conclave in 1286, requesting the citizens of Viterbo to help one of the cardinals who had fallen sick; lower right photo is Mons. Del Ciuco.

In fact, Mons Del Cuoco himself, the spokesman of the Diocese, has written 'Viterbo e i Papi' (Viterbo and the Popes), a book to mark Benedict's visit to Viterbo.

In presenting the book last month, Mons. Lorenzo Chiarinelli, Bishop of Viterbo said that Mons. Del Cuoco demonstrates his love for his native Viterbo whose distinctive characteristic is 'fulgens' (resplendent), his familiarity with the history of the city, particularly its centrality in Church affairs during the second half of the 13th century, when five Popes were elected and lived there, and his sincere admiration for the Viterban Popes and the living legacies they have left the city.

The book starts with Benedict XVI, however, and his visit to the city, the first by a Pope since the consolidation of 1986. At teh presentation, Mons. Chiarinelli said it will answer whether Joseph Ratzinger had ever visited Viterbo before. He called the book 'a splendid seal of a new century in our history".

The 150-page well-illustrated book is a joint project of the Diocese with the Banca di Viterbo.

Right photo is one of the illustrations from the book, a 19th-century sketch showing a view of the Palace of the Popes from Valle Faul, the plain (left photo) where Pope Benedict will say Mass on Sept. 6.

From Bagnoregio to the Pope:
A new sculpture of St. Bonaventure

Adapted and translated from

Bottom panel shows two views of the new sculpture by the Paolucci brothers, and the statue of St. Bonaventure in Bagnoregio's Piazza San Agostino (how much more Ratzingerian can it be?) - from where Pope Benedict will be addressing the twonsfolk of Bagnoregio.

In Bagnoregio, the municipality will give Benedict XVI a commissioned sculpture of St. Bonaventure which will be presented to the Holy Father bu Mayor Francesco Bigiotti on Sept. 6.

Bigiotti recalls that last year, the municipality had presented the Pope with a bas relief of St. Bonaventure, executed by the brothers Francesco and Gaetano Paolucci (whom he later commissioned to do the sculpture), at the time of a visit to the Vatican by a delegation from the Diocese of Viterbo.

It was then, Bigiotti said, that Mon. Chiarinelli first extended to the Pope an invitation to visit St. Bonaventure's birthplace.