At the reopening of the Bronze Door of the Apostolic Palace today, Pope Benedict had a message for the world. “The house of the Pope is open to everyone,” he said. The Holy Father also said that he hopes that those “who enter through the Bronze Door may feel ... they are welcomed by the Pope's embrace.”
The Pope made his remarks as he inaugurated the "Portone di Bronzo" (Bronze Door), the principal entrance to the Vatican Apostolic Palace which is returning to service following almost two years of restoration work.
The Holy Father recalled how the door "was built by Giovanni Battista Soria and Orazio Censore during the pontificate of Paul V who, between 1617 and 1619, ordered the complete refurbishment of the entire structure of the 'Porta Palatii.' In 1663, following the colossal architectural modifications ... of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the door was moved to its current position ... between the colonnade of St. Peter's Square and the Constantine Wing."
The intention had been to restore the door for the Great Jubilee 2000, but work could only begin in the year 2006. "Now," said the Pope, "it has returned to its place and function, under the beautiful mosaic of the Madonna and Child with Sts. Peter and Paul."
Benedict XVI went on: "Precisely because it marks the point of access to the house of the person called by the Lord to guide, as father and pastor, the entire People of God, this door assumes a symbolic and spiritual significance. Those who come to meet Peter's Successor pass through here. Pilgrims and visitors to the various offices of the Apostolic Palace cross this threshold." In this context, he voiced the hope that "those who enter through the Bronze Door may feel ... they are welcomed by the Pope's embrace. The house of the Pope is open to everyone."
Benedict XVI then thanked the people who collaborated in the restoration work: "the technical services of the Governorate of Vatican City State and the restoration laboratories of the Vatican Museums." In closing, he also expressed his gratitude for "the generous financial support of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the 'Credito Artigiano' Bank."