Lovers of art and people of faith will have a chance to view an exhibition unrivaled for many years. Housed at the Halls of the Crusades in the Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris, can be seen the Treasure of the Holy Sepulchre
: Gifts from European Royal Courts to Jerusalem. The exhibition continues until July 14. This is a special event because, for the first time, 250 “unknown” masterpieces that were sent to Jerusalem over the centuries are on display in one place. Many of these pieces have never before been on public display.
They are being displayed under an agreement by Franciscan Friars Minor of the Custody of the Holy Land, who still use many of these precious implements at the most solemn celebrations in the basilica which encloses Calvary, the place where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, as well as the empty tomb from whence Christians believe he arose from the dead. The friars or custodians of the treasures are among the representatives of several churches that are represented at the church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Among the pieces on display are sumptuous chalices, crucifixes, lamps, candelabra, ciboria and liturgical vestments given by European kings and sovereigns in devotion to Jesus Christ. The works will be displayed according to their origin – in particular from the Holy Roman Empire, the kingdoms of Spain, France and Portugal, the Republic of Genoa – showing how the European courts challenged each other in generosity.
Open every day, except Monday, from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., the exhibition is organized in collaboration with the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine Department of France, and also has a second venue at the House of Chateaubriand in Châtenay-Malabry. Art lovers will also be able to admire nine paintings, which also belong to the Custody. Preparations for the exhibition at Versailles began three years ago and will benefit the nascent Terra Sancta Museum, which the Custody intends to open in Jerusalem in 2015.
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