Oct 31, 2012 / 01:33 pm
The Sistine Chapel ceiling is celebrating its 500th anniversary today, and Pope Benedict XVI followed in the footsteps of his predecessor Pope Julius II, who unveiled the masterpiece by saying vespers there.
Pope Benedict said in his Oct. 31 address that he was marking the anniversary of this “liturgical classroom” with vespers because “the works of art which decorate it, especially the frescos, find in the liturgy … their living environment.”
“It is as if during the liturgical action, the entire symphony of figures comes alive, certainly in the spiritual sense, but also…in the aesthetic sense,” the Pope remarked. “The Sistine Chapel, encompassed in prayer, is even more beautiful, more authentic; it reveals all of its treasures.”
He also reflected on what it must have been like to see the ceiling when it was first unveiled on Oct. 31, 1512.
The frescoes exude light, but they are also permeated with the idea of the light of God, the Pope observed.
“That light, with its power, conquers the chaos and darkness to give life; in creation and in redemption. The Sistine Chapel tells the story of light, liberation, salvation; it speaks of God’s relationship with humanity,” he declared. …
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