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Nearly 2,000-year-old Jewish catacombs to be open to public in May

Nearly 2,000-year-old Jewish catacombs to be open to public in May

In response to Pope Francis’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, Italy will open Villa Randanini, one of only a few Jewish catacombs in Rome (as opposed to 40-some Christian catacombs) from May 1 until June 5.

In Religion News:

Giorgia Calo, cultural councilor for the Jewish Community of Rome, on Tuesday (March 29) welcomed the move to highlight Jewish history in Italy, saying that Jews “have always been a part of the history of the capital.”

The Jewish catacombs, like the Christian ones, lie outside the walls that once encircled ancient Rome.

Discovered beneath the vineyard of Villa Randanini in 1859, the Jewish burial site consists of a labyrinth of tunnels that stretches for nearly 200,000 square feet at a depth of 15 to 50 feet beneath the surface.

The catacomb tours are one of 20 itineraries being launched, also in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the Jewish ghetto in Venice.

Read the story here.

Image from International Catacomb Society.

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Rod Gillis

Stories like this one are something of a gift when brought to attention by Episcopal Café. For one thing, they are such an inspirational contrast to the rather depressing daily chronicle that is secular main stream news.

This story has an inter-faith and multi-cultural aspect. On that same RNS site is a similar story about The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the mosaic restoration in the Franciscan chapel. RNS reports the work of restoring those mosaics involves a joint effort of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

You can find the story by putting the word mosaic in the RNS search box.

David Allen

We covered a similar restoration a couple months back of the Church of the Nativity.

Rod Gillis

ok thanks David, I missed that one. Great to see some good news stories about cultural heritage sites. cheerio, -Rod

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