Pell to unveil first official Benedict portrait

Having just returned from Rome, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell will unveil the first official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI at tonight's opening of the Carnivale Christi Catholic arts festival.

The portrait of Pope Benedict XVI, which is the work of acclaimed Croatian-Australian artist Dr Charles Billich, was commissioned by Carnivale Christi together with a portrait of the late Pope John Paul II in Sydney.

Billich's works will be displayed in The Passion in Art and Film which will be opened in St Mary's Cathedral at 7:00 pm this evening by Bishop Anthony Fisher.

Tonight's event will mark the opening of Carnivale Christi, an event in which thousands of Australians including NSW Premier Bob Carr and Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court Jim Spiegelman will converge on St Mary's Cathedral for three days of music, theatre, film, and visual arts.

The unveiling will take 30 minutes. The evening will continue at 8:00 pm with Francesco De Vito's definitive behind-the-scenes account of his time of the set of The Passion at Inside the Passion.

Charles Billich, pictured with the late Pope John Paul II, has his painting of Blessed Mary MacKillop hanging in the Vatican.

"It's daunting to hang with the greatest names in art. The Vatican Collection is that close to an artist's heaven you can't get higher," he commented in his biography on his website.

Unveiling of first official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI (Carnivale Christi 28/4/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
Carnivale Christi
Charles Billich | Biography

Festival a celebration of Catholic arts and culture (Catholic Weekly 27/3/05)
Carnivale Christi returning to Sydney with an Easter theme (AD2000 April 2005)
Bishops welcome conclave's choice (Catholic Leader 1/5/05)
Sydney community celebrates 'German Pope' (Catholic Weekly 1/5/05)
Religious, civic leaders embrace new pontiff (Catholic Weekly 1/5/05)

29 Apr 2005