JOINT ISSUE WITH ITALY - AEROGRAMME FIFTH CENTENARY OF THE LIBERATION OF ST. JEROME EMILIANI

JOINT ISSUE WITH ITALY - AEROGRAMME FIFTH CENTENARY OF THE LIBERATION OF ST. JEROME EMILIANI  

Born into a noble family in Venice in 1486, as a young man he was responsible for the defense of the fortress of Quero (Belluno) during the war against the League of Cambrai, the biggest conflict in Italy during the Renaissance. Despite a vigorous resistance, the fortress fell and he was captured. During his time in prison, he drew close to prayer and meditation, and on 27 September 1511 he was inexplicably freed from prison. St. Jerome attributed the miraculous liberation to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He then dedicated his life to serving the sick, the abandoned and the young, founding many charitable institutions. He died in Somasca (Lecco) in 1537. His mission of service to orphans and the young was recognized in 1928 by Pius XI who elevated him to universal patron of orphans and troubled youths. To mark the fifth centenary of his prodigious liberation, the Order he founded, the Clerics Regular of Somasca, are celebrating a jubilee year. In a message to the Somascans, the Holy Father Benedict XVI noted that "The life of the Venetian layman, Jerome Emiliani, was as it were ‘refounded’ ... (when) ...through the intercession of the Mother of God he found himself freed from the chains of prison..." Blessed John Paul II defined him as a "lay animator of the laity" who helps us take to heart every form of poverty in our young people, whether moral, physical or existential. For this occasion Vatican City State and Italy will participate in a joint stamp issue for the first time ever involving postal stationery. Both the Vatican aerogramme and the Italian postal envelope display an oil on canvas painting from 1748 by Francesco Zuccarelli found at the Pinacoteca Civica Repossi in Chiari (Brescia, Italy). The postal stamp impression is the same on both stationery depicting the Basilica of Saints Boniface and Alexius on the Aventine in Rome. The image is taken from an etching called "Orthographia antiquae Basilicae ac veteris Coenobii SS. Bonifacii et Alexii de Urbe in Colle Aventino" printed in a book from 1752 found in the library of the Clerics Regular of Somasca.