“The only worthwhile striving is after the highest ideals: If you aim for an easy target, your standard will inevitably decline, and no progress is ever made, except through real effort and real suffering.” - Servant of God Fra' Andrew Bertie

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900th ANNIVERSARY - OUR LADY OF PHILERMO'S SUMMER JOURNEY


From the Osservatore Romano of 2-3 June 2012, we reproduce the following article:

MUSIC AND SILENCE DURING THE NIGHT
Music and silence are two ways to reflect on the transcendent, and for this reason the Franciscans at Assisi are organising a cycle of concerts this summer, while also promoting a special evening opening of the sanctuary for silent prayer.  
From the 6th July, in the large cloister of the proto-convent of the Porziuncola, and in the papal basilica of Santa Maria degli the Angeli, many musical events of special interest will take place. "Angelic Harmonies" is the title of a cycle of concerts offering sacred programmes of varied types, and which will conclude on 16th September with Haydn’s “The last seven words of Christ on the Cross,” performed by the Quartetto Rosamunda. Everything — the organizers explain — is under the sign of Love, by which one can be drawn closer to the contemplation of beauty and consolation, for the edification of the soul, as so desired by St Francis of Assisi. 
During the same period this year the sanctuary will stay open late in the evening. Until the Feast of Saint Francis, October 4th, faithful and pilgrims coming to Assisi will be able to remain in prayer in the Porziuncola from 9pm to 10.30, at which hour Compline is said before closing. 
But the initiatives also extend beyond the boundaries of Italy. The papal basilica is participating in an exhibition, dedicated to the treasures of the Order of Malta, that will be opened on July 5th in the Kremlin Museum in Moscow. 
The Franciscans decided to loan the icon of the Virgin of Philermo, Patroness of the Order of Malta, and the object of a pilgrimage of knights who come together in Porziuncola every year to venerate it.  (Translation by Conventual Church Blog)
This is not, of course, the true icon, but the Russia copy which is in the custody of the Franciscans at Assisi, and which is so familiar by reproduction to members of the Order.  The true icon is in Montenegro.  The copy was made by Tsar Paul of Russia, following his 'election' as Grand Master.  See the History of the Icon HERE.
The Moscow Exhibition forms part of the nonocentenary celebration of the Papal Bull of Pope Paschal II formally erecting the Order in 1113.  It will be attended by His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master this summer.  SEE LINKS HERE, and HERE.