Weekly News Update: Coliseum Turns Blood Red, Why Sepulchre Closed, Ancient Painting

This week we look at an ancient work of Catholic art created by Aztecs, three Catholic sites of martyrdom around the world that turned blood red, and the conflict around closing the Church of the Holy Sepulcher out of protest to new taxes being imposed in Jerusalem.

Museum in Auch, France Lends America’s Oldest Christian Painting to the USA

One of the most ancient examples of Christian art from the Americas was created in 1539 by Aztecs for Franciscan missionaries in Mexico. This image depicts a Eucharistic miracle of the sixth century that took place during a pontifical Mass of Saint Gregory the Great. The miracle occurred in response to the those present who doubted that the bread and wine actually became the Body and Blood of Christ. The image utilizes Aztec techniques of featherwork to beautifully depict this Eucharistic miracle and testifies to the very beginnings of the apostolic efforts in Mexico by the Franciscans. This masterpiece is currently on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for one year and has been on display since February 26th, 2018.
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The Coliseum Lit Up in Red, Signifying the Blood of Persecuted Christians

On Saturday, February 24th at 6:00 p.m., the Coliseum in Rome as well as Churches in Iraq and Syria were lit up in red. This was done “so that the world might open its eyes” about the persecutions against Christians around the globe. Present at the event was a Nigerian Catholic woman abducted in August 2014, during an attack by the Islamic military group – Boko Haram.  While captive she was tortured, abused, and sold as a slave – a direct result of her refusal to abandon her Catholic Faith. Eventually, by the grace of God she escaped and was invited to Rome to tell her story and increase awareness of Christian persecution in the world today.
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Why Christian Communities in the Holy Land Closed the Holy Sepulcher

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site of Christ’s tomb, was closed on February 25th, 2018. This decision was in response to a new city-tax levied on the Holy Site. These sacred sites were long exempt from municipal taxes but recently the mayor of Jerusalem attempted to collect over $180 million dollars in what was referred to as “back taxes”. The site was only closed for a few days and was open again in time for Easter as the mayor reacted by backtracking his tax plan – although he is still attempting to push some new form of taxation in the future.
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