Mother of God Salus Populi Romani, 8th c.
Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome
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Copyright © PW de Ruyter
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Mother of God Salus Populi Romani

This icon, under the special patronage of the popes, reportedly was particularly venerated by Pope John-Paul II (1920-2005). Click link above to read more.

On Palm Sunday 2003, Pope John Paul II entrusted a copy of the icon of the Salus Populi Romani from the Borghese Chapel of the Patriarchal Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome to a group of German young people in Cologne, saying "From now on it will accompany the World Youth Days, together with the Cross. It will be a sign of Mary's motherly presence close to young people who are called upon, like the Apostle John, to welcome her into their lives.“

The "copy" entrusted to the young people actually is an "enhanced" copy, as it no longer bears any resemblance to a byzantine icon. "Enhanced" meaning that the image is brighter, has come-hither eyes, augmented, bee-stung lips, and a soft, dreamy color palette, all designed to appeal to the young people of today.

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