Benedictine Torch Returns to Rome

Symbolizes Peace Beyond Political, Religious Divides

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2012 ( At the end of today’s general audience, Benedict XVI greeted a delegation that just returned from Malta, where the Benedictine torch was lit last Sunday.

The delegation was led by Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia, Italy, and by the abbots of Montecassino and Subiaco. 

After the lighting Sunday in Malta, the Benedictine torch «Pro Pace et Europa Una» will return to the saint’s home town of Norcia next week.

The Benedictine torch has been carried around European capital cities since the year 1964 when Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict as patron saint of Europe. The torch is intended to symbolise the fraternity and peace proclaimed in the Gospel, beyond all political, ideological and religious divides. 

It has been lit in Berlin, Prague, Bucharest, Strasbourg, Budapest, Madrid, Lisbon, Warsaw, Brussels, Vienna, Moscow and Jerusalem. In 2001 it was taken to New York to bring a message of hope following the attacks of Sept. 11, while last year it was lit in London during the course of an ecumenical ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

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