March 5, 2021

The Vatican mobilizes in search of Caravaggio's painting stolen by the Mafia

The Vatican mobilizes in search of Caravaggio's painting stolen by the Mafia



The Vatican has called next Monday a meeting with the one that will encourage them to mobilize to find the most wanted painting in the world, the Nativity of Caravaggio, stolen in a Sicilian church in 1969 allegedly by the mafia.

The Dicastery (Vatican ministry) for the Integral Human Development Service reported today that the event will be announced the news about the theft of this jewel of Baroque collected by the Italian Anti-Mafia Parliamentary Commission last February.

The objectives of the initiative, its organizers point out in a statement, are first of all to highlight the Church's opposition to the mafias, which the pope has criticized on numerous occasions.

Also place the painting "at the center of the international debate so that it can be found" and support both national and international institutions "committed to their search".

The forum will be attended by experts and authorities such as the historian Claudio Strinati, the philosopher Vittorio Alberti, the former president of the anti-Mafia parliamentary committee, Rosy Bindi, the archbishop Silvano Tomasi and the commander of the Carabineros Fabrizio Parrulli.

And also a group of 150 students to make them understand what the loss of a "formidable" heritage like this implies.

The "Nativity" of Michelangelo Merisi, "Caravaggio", was stolen on the night of October 17 in 1969 at the oratory of San Lorenzo, in Palermo (Sicily).

The work, of incalculable value, is considered the most sought after in the world, according to the Dicastery, and is one of the ten artistic pieces included in the list of artistic crimes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

His theft has always been attributed to the Sicilian mafia, the Cosa Nostra, and some of its members have alluded to it during their legal proceedings.

A repentant mafioso, Francesco Marino Mannoia, explained during a trial in 1996 how he had stolen the painting: tearing it from the frame with a razor blade, which apparently had caused him serious damage.

Mannoia then pointed out that the canvas had been destroyed: "When the buyer saw him he started crying and we decided to destroy it because it was unsaleable," he said at the time.

However, the hopes of finding this masterpiece of Caravaggio resurfaced when the bloodthirsty member of Cosa Nostra Giovanni Brusca tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a better prison treatment in exchange for information about his whereabouts.

The also mafioso Salvatore Cangemi assured in another process that the canvas has not been destroyed and that it is exposed during the Cosa Nostra meetings as a "symbol of his power".

The forum to encourage your search will take place in the "Sala Vasari" of the Palace of the Vatican Chancellery and will be held a few days after the 49th anniversary of the theft and a month after the trip that Pope Francis made in Palermo , where he paid tribute to the priest Pino Puglisi, murdered by the Cosa Nostra mafia in 1993.

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