This morning, 20 January 2022, at the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, a conservation check was carried out on the venerated icon of the Salus Populi Romani.
The Salus Populi Romani, literally “salvation of the Roman people”, is an acheropite icon which tradition attributes to the hand of Saint Luke. Since the Middle Ages, the icon of the Salus Populi Romani has been the object of particular veneration by the Roman people, who turn to her to ward off dangers and misfortunes.
Exhibited in a niche above the high altar of the Pauline Chapel built by Pope Paul V (Camillo Borghese, 1605-1621), it is the destination of religious pilgrimages by the faithful and visitors. Pope Francis, who is very devoted to the Salus Populi Romani, never fails to visit it before embarking on an important journey.
The subject of a long and delicate restoration, carried out at the restoration laboratories of the Vatican Museums, on 28 January 2018, the Feast of the Translation of the Salus Populi Romani, during a moving ceremony presided over by Pope Francis, the Icon was returned to the Basilica inside a climate-controlled shrine designed to ensure its preservation over time.
This morning, in the presence of the rchpriest of the Basilica, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, representatives of the Chapter of Canons, the Extraordinary Commissioner Msgr. Rolandas Makrickas and the Director of the Vatican Museums Barbara Jatta, after a brief prayer the reliquary was transferred to the Chapter House of the Basilica. There it was opened, allowing the Vatican technicians from the Painting Restoration Laboratory, responsible for the restoration and the Conservator’s Office to verify the Icon's excellent condition. And so, to the satisfaction of all present, the Salus Populi Romani was returned to display in the Pauline Chapel shortly after the Angelus.
Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major