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Starting Friday morning, a mosaic featuring Saint Charbel will adorn one of the walls surrounding the tomb of Saint Paul VI in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.

The moment promises to be both poignant and solemn. Following the installment of the statue of Saint Maron in one of its exterior niches in 2011, the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome will, as of Friday morning, welcome a mosaic portraying Saint Charbel. The sacred artwork will be positioned on the first basement level of the basilica, on one of the walls that surround the tomb of Saint Paul VI—the pope who beatified and canonized Saint Charbel in 1977. It originates from a miraculous photographic depiction capturing Saint Charbel’s appearance in the midst of a group of pilgrims in 1952–54, years after his death.

Meticulously crafted in a specialized Vatican workshop using techniques dating back to the 16th century, the mosaic received a joyful blessing from Pope Francis last autumn. Saint Charbel, who enjoys significant popularity in Argentina, is well-known to the Pope. Just like Bishop Charbel Merhi, the Maronite bishop who served in Buenos Aires during Bishop Bergoglio’s tenure, has become a hermit in Lebanon.

Following the ceremony, a mass will be presided over by Bishop Youhanna Warcha, the delegate of the Maronite Patriarchate to the Holy See. In attendance will be Claudio Gugerotti, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Hadi Mahfouz, the Superior of the Maronite Lebanese Order, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the Archpriest of the basilica, and Farid al-Khazen, the Ambassador of Lebanon to the Holy See. Khazen, who passionately embraced this project in 2017 and navigated it through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, secured the support of successive authorities overseeing the basilica to bring this initiative to fruition.

In attendance will be a small group representing Antoun Sehnaoui, the CEO of SGBL, whose generous contributions played a pivotal role in realizing this project—a project diligently pursued by Ambassador Khazen. The ceremony will be broadcast by Noursat (Télé-Lumière) starting at 10:30 AM (9:30 AM Rome time).

The upcoming installation of the mosaic will resonate with the inauguration ceremony of the altar dedicated to Saint Charbel inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York in 2017. This noteworthy event was made possible through the donation of Antoun Sehnaoui, who dedicated this work of piety to his parents.