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Knights of Columbus Museum Hosts A Vatican Christmas in New Haven

Exhibit of study models of Vatican Manger Scenes highlights John Paul II’s love of Christmas

Contact: Andrew Walther 203-752-4253

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Knights of Columbus Museum is the exclusive U.S. venue for a world-class exhibition from the Vatican entitled A Vatican Christmas: Crèches of Pope John Paul II.

A Vatican Christmas: Crèches of Pope John Paul II is the second in a series of the museum’s annual Christmas in Miniature exhibitions. As with last year’s exhibit of Crèches from Around the World, the Nativity scenes fills three large galleries. The exhibit tells the story of the late pope’s keen interest in the three-dimensional re-creation of the birth of Jesus Christ.

In 1982, Pope John Paul II instituted a tradition in St. Peter’s Square by displaying a larger-than-life-sized Nativity scene in front of the obelisk each year. While the actual St. Peter’s Square crèches are too large to be exhibited, the Knights of Columbus Museum exhibition will contain a number of the study models that were used to build those exterior works of art. Some are as large as nine feet wide and can be viewed from all sides. 

As a further tribute to Pope John Paul II, Polish szopkas (Nativity scenes) from his home diocese of Kraków are also being shown, including the silver szopka that the pope kept close to him on his desk. The exhibit will run concurrently with the museum’s annual Christmas Tree Festival (Dec. 2- Jan. 31), in which local school children decorate Christmas trees. 

Also showing is a second Vatican exhibit, The Swiss Guard: Celebrating 500 Years of Papal Service. This exhibit will feature priceless artifacts from the world’s oldest military organization. The Swiss Guard was created in the 16th century to protect the Vatican and the pope at a time when it was not uncommon for rampaging armies to attack and pillage European cities. During its 500-year history, the Vatican has amassed many important and historical objects related to the Swiss Guard that will be shown for the first time in the United States. Additional items from museums in Italy, Switzerland, Austria and other European countries will also be on display. 

The Knights of Columbus Museum is located at 1 State St. in downtown New Haven and is open Wednesdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free.