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Never before seen Vatican artifacts on display in Philadelphia

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A preview of "Vatican splendors" can be seen in an exhibit at the Franklin Institute that showcases never before seen relics and art pieces from the Vatican.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A collection of over 200 items from the Vatican that have never been seen in public are now on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The "Vatican Splendors" from the Vatican in Rome, Italy offers a "glimpse into why the church has always considered art so important," the bishop from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bishop John J. McIntyre, said. 
The bishop maintains art is a reflection of God. He said, "One of the essential qualities of God is beauty."

Visitors have an opportunity to glimpse an abundance of beauty and splendor from the exhibit. The event coincided with the pontiffs visit to Philadelphia in September, but the exhibit is scheduled to continue through February 15 and will include works ranging from works created by Michelangelo to the jewel-encrusted and gilded Eucharistic vessels.
"No matter what religion visitors are, they will walk away with an appreciation of art and beauty, and the importance art and culture bring to our everyday lives," Larry Dubinski, the president of the Franklin Institute, boasted.
The Franklin Institute is the first of two North American cities scheduled to host the exhibit for the "Vatican Splendors." Simi Valley, California will feature precious artifacts from the Vatican as well. After the exhibits, the items will be returned to the Vatican, where they will most likely retire from public view once again. 
According to Curator Monsignor Roberto Zagnoli, two of the most important pieces featured at the exhibit include the bronze cast of the hand of Pope John Paul II and the signed personal greeting and white papal cap from Pope Francis. 
Replicas of the Great Jubilee Doors from the Basilica in Rome flanked with mannequins wearing Swiss Guard uniforms will greet visitors as they enter the exhibit. 11 galleries within the exhibition illustrate the city of Rome and highlight the developments of people and events tied to the Vatican.
Pieces of religious art from the 8th century to the present include mosaics, iconography from the Middle Ages and a 15th-century marble relief of the martyrdom of St. Peter are a few highlights the exhibit offers.
Bone fragments from St. Peter, St.Paul, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Hyacinth are also on display. Papal portraits - some in mosaic and frescoes - are available for the public's viewing pleasure. Pope John Paul II's bronze hand is the final artifact in the exhibit and the public may touch it. 
You can visit the exhibition at the Franklin Institute at 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia 9:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesdays until February 15.
Tickets are $34.95 for the day, $28.95 for children 3-11 and evening tickets after 5 p.m. are $22.95 for adults, $14.95 for ages 3-11. For more information, please call (215) 448-1200 or visit The Franklin Institute website.

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