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It is now 2000 years since the birth of the Apostle to the Nations

 

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The Pope proclaims the “Year of Saint Paul”

30/01/2008: Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed the Year of Saint Paul from 28th June 2008 to 29th June 2009, to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle. Though its centre will be the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, it will not be a mere Roman event and will stretch out through the whole world.

The occurrence will allow to rediscover Paul and his tireless apostolate, to live once again the first age of the Church, to study Paul’s teaching to everyone – with special regard to the “gentiles” – to visit, as pilgrims, his tomb and the places where he lived and where he founded the first ecclesial communities, it will be an opportunity to kindle one’s faith and revive the role of the Church. However, by explicit desire of Benedict XVI, ecumenism shall be the main theme imbuing this 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle to the Nations.

The First Ecumenical Chapel in a Papal Basilica

The Chapel of the Basilica that is currently the baptistery, located between the Basilica and the Cloister, will be turned into an ecumenical Chapel. It will continue to be used as baptistery, with the baptismal font on one side, but it will “offer a special place of prayer to all the Christian brothers who ask for it”, for them and for Catholics together.

Benedict XVI, the first pilgrim of the Year of Saint Paul

Pilgrimages will be a constant event during the Year of Saint Paul, and they will start with the Pope himself, who will be “the first pilgrim on 28th June 2008 to inaugurate” this time devoted to the Apostle, “accompanied by the representatives of the Churches and Christian communities”.

The [closed] Holy Door of St. Paul Outside the Walls will not be opened, since the event does not involve the other basilicas and their doors; a “Pauline door”, however, symmetrical to the Holy Door, will be opened by the Pope, therefore solemnly initiating the pilgrimages.

Furthermore, a “Pauline flame” will be lit, and kindled by the pilgrims throughout the Year.

Visits are planned to locations connected to the memory of St. Paul, in Rome – where twelve are identified – or around the world, in particular to the Holy Land, to Turkey and to Malta.

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