Via Francigena

The Holy See and the Via Francigena: From hospitality to UNESCO candidacy

Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe become part of the activities promoted by the Holy See, which officially joined the homonymous Enlarged Partial Agreement in March this year.

On Tuesday 27th November, in Strasbourg, there was a significant conference entitled “The Cultural Route of the Council of Europe: Paths of Faith and Meeting” promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), together with the Permanent Mission of the Holy See at the Council of Europe.

On the morning of the same day, the president of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, Massimo Tedeschi, and the director, Luca Bruschi, were received at the Mission’s headquarters by Mons. Paolo Rudelli, Permanent Observer of the Holy See in Strasbourg, and by Mgr. Maurizio Bravi, Delegate of the Holy See at the Enlarged Partial Agreement. It was a meeting to lay the foundations for a fruitful collaboration towards the promotion and enhancement of the Via Francigena with particular reference to the UNESCO candidature and the reception of pilgrims in Rome. The United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy and Vatican City are the five states involved in the European candidacy of the Francigena, in close collaboration with the regions and the coordinating body of the EAVF.

The values ​​of the medieval and modern pilgrimage and the ethical values ​​linked to the journey are elements that will contribute to the construction of the UNESCO candidacy dossier. Today the pilgrim route is an opportunity to know, touch and experience life, history, nature, values ​​of European people who, although very different from each other, have the common mark of Christian humanism.

Traveling along the Via Francigena from Canterbury, in England, passing through Calais, Arras, Reims, Besançon in France, crossing the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Valais, the Italian regions and municipalities, and arriving in Rome is a unique opportunity to get to know the great importance of the geography and history of Europe” said President Tedeschi. “The paths of Europe, the Camino de Santiago, the Vie Francigene, the Vie dei Romei are the paths traversed by pilgrims and, therefore, are marked by a strong spiritual and religious characterisation, they trace the depth of the Christian root Europe” concluded the President.

Pilgrim reception in Rome then becomes a very important theme. The eternal city that embraces pilgrims upon arrival and leads them to the tomb of the Apostle Peter must improve its reception system for those who arrive in Piazza San Pietro on foot or by bicycle; it is important to meet the needs of the pilgrims who arrive here to receive the Testimonium that attests their journey.

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