Reflections from Rome - Archives and Artifacts

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Rome's history spans more than two and a half thousand years." It is one of the oldest cities in the world. As a result through its development the history of Western Civilization and religious history is told. By Vatican City being a country within a country, it has retained an extensive archives and artifacts collection over these many years. I must tip my hat to the Roman Catholic Church and its founding fathers and people religious. Their belief in historical criticism made them collectors of archives and artifacts from around the world. Their position as one of the most powerful empires provided them with the resources to collect and retain these precious items. The importance of Rome at a period of time when their Popes during the Middle Ages ruled the church and the country gave them great power and influence on earth. They attracted legendary figures such as Michelangelo, Bramante, Bermini and Raphael to live and work there. The buildings reflect the work of exceptional artisans and craftsmen. The ability to acquire precious materials such as gold, marble, ivory, silver, fine woods and linens added luster to the structures. Precious jewels were collected from around the world and bought to this special place - Rome.

What I learned from this experience is the historical importance of archives and artifacts to tell a story of a culture and a people.

Viewing precious containers of pieces of the manager in Bethlehem where Jesus was born, seeing pieces of the chains that held Paul when he was held captive in Rome, walking along the stone paved paths that made you feel the unevenness and tortured pace of one having to walk with the heavy burden of knowing you are walking to your end, see the pedestal were Paul was beheaded was a graphic item of this significant event, walking through the Coliseum were major contests and torture of gladiators and Christians were held, seeing the place where the chariot races were held and being reminded of "Ben Hur," and seeing the world famous Sistine Chapel impacted me and reminded me how important it is for us to collect our archives and artifacts and to preserve our story for future generations.

I view the preservation of these items and more as one of the significant contributions of Roman culture and religious history.

The challenge is for each faith community to see itself as a part of a continuum and preserve its history and tell its story to future generations.

What a powerful testimony that would be if through the eyes of each faith community this generation and future generations could tell the story of how God has been to them.

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