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Pope rents out Sistine Chapel to Porsche

Porsche will hold a concert, followed by a ‘gala dinner’ in the Vatican museum, ‘surrounded by masterpieces by world-famous artists’.

LAKSHMAN MENON  London | 18th Oct 2014

The Sistine Chapel is the most famous — and instantly recognisable — symbol of the Roman Catholic Church. It is here, under the magnificent frescos of Michelangelo, that Popes have been elected for centuries. It is here, too, that reigning Popes kneel in private prayer. Now, in an unprecedented commercial deal, Pope Francis is renting out the 15th century chapel to Porsche for a private event of another kind; a concert, followed by a "gala dinner" in the Vatican museum, "surrounded by masterpieces by world-famous artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael".

It is the first time in its ancient history that anyone has been allowed to hire the chapel, the proceeds of which will go to charities for the poor and homeless. The Vatican has refused to disclose how much it will earn from its deal with the Porsche Travel Club but with a spokesman for the German corporation calling the event "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", it is expected that the fee will be very substantial. Curiously, just prior to the announcement, the Vatican had stated it would cap the number of tourists allowed inside the chapel to the current total of six million to protect the frescoes from pollution. Some Vatican observers have expressed fears at the deal, not least because barely two weeks ago, the singer, Justin Bieber, was discovered kicking a ball around the Vatican during a £16,000 private tour.

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