Protests erupt in Naples over saint’s treasures

Protests erupted in the city of Naples in an attempt to prevent the Catholic Church from gaining control over the jewels of its patron saint, San Gennaro or Saint Januarius.

“We’re protecting a centuries-old institution, we will not stand for interference from either the church or the government,” said Paolo Jorio, director of the San Gennaro museum.

The collection of gold jewellery, precious stones, headdresses, and silver busts, which are reportedly worth more than British crown jewels, were donated by kings and aristocrats in honor of San Gennaro.

The collection has long been considered the property of a local lay council, which was established in the 16th century.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, however, issued a decree opening the door to church control.

The minister ruled that the council is the same as any other caretaker body which manages religious buildings – such as Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome – and ordered that four of the committee’s posts should be in the hands of the church.

The council said it would appeal the decree in court and further protests would be held in a bid to get it reversed.

Mayor Luigi De Magistris of Naples said the city would do what it takes to “makes sure what San Gennaro gave us is not diminished.”

The mayor also heads the council.


The Guardian
The Local
Image: The Guardian


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