Letter #41, 2016: Concert in Palmyra

May 5, 2016, Thursday -- A Russian Concert in Palmyra, Syria, Contains a Message to the West The Diplomacy of Music As I write this, a renowned Russian conductor is conducting an orchestral concert called "Prayer for Palmyra: Music Revives Ancient Ruins" in the ruins of the ancient desert city of Palmyra in war-torn Syria. As [...]

An interview with Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo

After spending four years in Venezuela, Archbishop Pietro Parolin will re­turn to the Vatican as the new secretary of state. Pope Francis announced his decision during the hot Roman summer, in August (in theory, the summer holiday of the Curia). Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will hand over his office to his successor on October 15. The Pope [...]

Archbishop Pietro Parolin Is the New Vatican Secretary of State

In this interview, the recently- appointed Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, outlines what he hopes to achieve in his new diplomatic role. From the Apostolic Nunciature in Caracas, where he was still working as the Holy See’s “ambassador” to Venezuela, Parolin talked about his view of the geopolitical situation in light of Pope Francis’ efforts [...]

Interview with Zion Evrony, Ambassador of Israel to the Holy See

“Pope Francis brings a universal message of modesty, caring for the poor, struggle for peace and care for the environment,” Zion Evrony said to Inside the Vatican. “We very much hope to see him visit Israel during the year 2014. He has been officially invited by President Peres, by Deputy Foreign Minister Elkin, and by me to [...]

Philippines: a Canonization and a New Cardinal

An interview with Mercedes Arrastia-Tuason, Philippine ambassador to the Holy See. This fall has been eventful for the Philippine embassy to the Holy See. In October, Benedict XVI canonized Blessed Pedro Calungsod, the second Blessed of the biggest Catholic country of Asia. Then, on November 24 at the consistory, held in the Vatican, the Pope created [...]

Interview with Nikolas von Liechtenstein

Benedict XVI greets Nikolas von Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein’s envoy to the Holy See, during the pontiff’s annual meeting with the diplomats accredited to the Vatican on January 9. Ambassador Nikolas von Liechtenstein: We have a small diplomatic corps, so, like many small countries, our government decided to have a non-resident ambassador. Since last year, I [...]