Vatican and Rome's Jewish Museum hold joint exhibition

Menorah exhibition result of unprecedented inter-religious cultural collaboration.

The Vatican Museums and the Jewish Museum of Rome will present their first joint exhibition in a move that is seen as underlining the much-improved Catholic-Jewish relations.

Titled Menorah - Cult, History and Myth, the landmark exhibition will be held simultaneously in St Peter's Square and at the Great Synagogue of Rome from 15 May to 23 July.

The exhibition's focus will be the menorah, the ancient symbol of Judaism, and how it has been depicted in Jewish, Catholic and secular art down through the centuries. An exhibition highlight will be the recently-discovered Magdala Stone, a carved stone block dating to before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70.

The Braccio di Carlo Magno venue in St Peter's Square will house 120 works while the smaller Jewish Museum, part of the city's Great Synagogue complex, will host ten works.

Some 20 major international museums have contributed pieces to the show which will be "significant from both the religious as well as the historical aspects," according to Barbara Jatta, the newly-installed director of the Vatican Museums.

Pope Francis visited the Great Synagogue in January 2016, during the Vatican’s Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy. It was the third synagogue visit by a pope, following Benedict XVI in 2010 and the historic 1986 visit by John Paul II.

Photo. Vatican Museums director Barbara Jatta (left) and head of Rome's Jewish Museum Alessandra Di Castro (right). Photo REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi.