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Makeover for papal apartment


When he returns to the Vatican today from an 11 week sojourn at his Castel Gandolfo summer residence, Pope Benedict XVI will find his apartment thoroughly renovated.

Catholic World News reports that, during the Pope's absence, the papal apartment on the third floor of the apostolic palace has been a busy work site, with more than 100 tradesmen - carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and painters - involved in the renovation. During the northern summer, tourists have often been able to see the scaffolding set up inside the apartment, through the open windows overlooking St Peter's Square.

The Pope's apartment, which his predecessor had occupied for more than 26 years, now boasts an entirely new kitchen, with a new German stove donated by the manufacturer. There is new furniture throughout the apartment, also contributed by German donors. A miniaturized medical clinic, hastily installed in the papal lodgings for the ailing John Paul II, has been modernized, and expanded to include facilities for dental work as well.

The renovation also included work on the apartments above the papal suite, where his staff aides live and work. And the workers repaired the terrace on the roof of the apostolic palace, which provides an unmatched view of the city of Rome.

As they rushed to complete the project before the Holy Father's return, Vatican workers checked the life that allows the Pope to reach his apartment from the Sixtus V courtyard in middle of the apostolic palace. That lift, which carried dozens of workers every day during the renovation, was the scene of a disconcerting episode on 22 August. A minor earthquake shook Rome that day, and several workers were thrown to the floor of the elevator before they concluded that it would be more prudent to leave by the grand staircase of the apostolic palace.

A remodeling of the papal lodgings is a common occurrence after the election of a new Pontiff. After his own election in October 1978, Pope John Paul II commissioned the last renovation of the apartment. Early in 1979, the Polish Pope moved temporarily into St John's Tower, in the middle of the Vatican gardens, while the work in his apartment was being done.

SOURCE
Renovated apartment awaits Pope's return (Catholic World News 27/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Papal Apartments (Wikipedia)

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28 Sep 2005