Salus Populi Romani is a very ancient and fragile artwork, for this reason the work was restored a short time ago under the direction of the director of the Museums Barbara Jatta.In a recent meeting, Dr. Jatta asked to Bottega to establish the possibility on the possible reproduction of the artwork “in a workmanlike manner” with the use of the same type of wood, painting it on a pictographic basis with materials and manufacturing processes used for the original.
In this way it will be possible to use for the future procession our reproduction to preserve the original artwork.
The art works have a unique ability, not only to tell your time but to cross it and over time become a reference, a refuge or a hope for Popes and faithful.
This is the Byzantine icon Maria Salus Populi Romani, the most beloved Marian icon in Rome, depicting The Madonna with the Child. Maria Salus Populi Romani is guarded and revered in the Pauline chapel of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome
This painting has reached a worldwide popularity after the gesture of Pope Francis during the Third Sunday of Lent: the Pope in the desert of Rome to pray against the plague.
Italy as well as all of the world is facing the Coronavirus Emergency, a pandemic, as declared by the OMS, that affects everyone, becoming lethal for the most frail people.
As Pope Pius XII who on the altar of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in front of the Salus Populi Romani celebrated his first mass as a priest; Francis has a special connection to this painting. He goes to venerate the icon, not only during the Marian celebrations but also before facing a journey and on his return, to thank. On Sunday, the Pope called for an end to the pandemic by going to Santa Maria Maggiore, he invoked the protection of Maria Salus Populi Romani; his intention has been to all who are on the frontline of the pandemic and support in this moment our society.
The link between the Byzantine icon and the Roman people is very strong, several times in history has been invoked to deal with epidemics and plaghe. In 593 Pope Gregory I had brought the sacred image in procession to end the plague, and in 1837 Gregory XVI relied on ending a cholera epidemic
The icon revered in Santa Maria Maggiore was present in Tor Vergata in the August 2000 on the occasion of World Youth Day, in that occasion John Paul II wanted to entrust it to the young people.
In this special moment in our history, with the closure of the Churches to fight the epidemic, the message, the words and comfort of the Pope and priests Italy comes to the homes thanks to new technologies; in this moment during this war against an invisible enemy, the gesture of Pope Francis who goes to venerate Maria Salus populi Romani is extraordinary.
This gesture remindd Pope Pius XII who in June 1944, in a liberated Rome, attributed the grace of liberation from the Nazi-Fascist occupation to Maria Salus Populi Romani; and who later celebrated the icon, with a solemn procession through the streets of Rome in 1953.
In every moment of difficulty faith is the safe place … and in the moments of pain Maria Salus Populi Romans is important for Pops and for faithful, to invoke protection over alla of us.