A captivating postage stamp issued by the Vatican Post office to commemorate Easter 2012 – “Christ is risen. Alleluia”, has received a stamp of approval from Great Britain.
The 0.75c value Vatican City stamp shows a magnificent picture of the Risen Christ, and includes the words: “Surrexit Christus Alleluia MMXII”, together with the Keys of Peter.
The stamp, on a special pictorial first day cover, postmarked in advance with an Easter Sunday, 8 April 2012, pictorial handstamp, is on sale to pilgrims and tourists at the Vatican Post Offices situated in St Peter’s Square. The stamp, the postmark and the cover each display the Risen Christ – three very different treatments of the defining event of Christian faith.
This particular Vatican stamp and commemorative cover will be prized by stamp collectors and non-collectors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike from around the world as a beautiful memento of Rome and Easter 2012.
During a memorable Colloquium “Britain and the Holy See: A Celebration of 1982 and the Wider Relationship”, organised by the British Embassy, and held at the Venerable English College, in Rome on Friday 30 March, I invited eight of the distinguished speakers to autograph one of these covers.
That makes it a unique philatelic item – signed by: H E Nigel Baker, British Ambassador to the Holy See; Mr Mark Pellew, Ambassador to the Holy See 1998-2002; His Eminence Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland; His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster; the Most Rev Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; The Rt Rev Bishop Edwin Regan, Bishop of Wrexham; The Rt Rev Bishop Christopher Hill, Anglican Bishop of Guildford; and Mgr Mark Langham of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
Anglican bishops sign with their sees as their surnames, so we see “Christopher Guildford” written upwards to the left of the reproduced painting from the Vatican Museum.
In the discerning world of philately the Holy See enjoys a good reputation for the design and production of its postage stamps, as also for its commemorative and first day covers.