The Endesa Foundation and the Vatican sign an agreement to illuminate the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the largest church in Rome

Published on Friday, 26 May 2017

  • Enel Sole will carry out the lighting restoration and adaptation works in the basilica, under the supervision of the Department of Technical Services of the Governorate of the Vatican City State
  • The aim of this illumination project is to honour the excellence of this Church, using the most advanced energy efficiency and optimisation techniques, together with the finest artistic illumination
  • The relationship between Spain and the Saint Mary Basilica dates back to Charles V's reign and it still remains today

The Endesa Foundation has signed an agreement with the Governorate of the Vatican City State and with the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major to carry out an illumination Project for the artistic and religious elements of the Saint Mary Major in Rome, which will be carried out by Enel Sole.

Borja Prado, Chairman of Endesa, the Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló and the Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, met in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to initiate this emblematic illumination projects for one of the four papal basilicas in Rome, closely related to Spain. The event was also attended by Mr Rafael García de la Serrana Villalobos, Director of Technical Services in the Vatican and other figures who accompanied them on their tour of the various rooms in the Vatican that are going to be illuminated by the Endesa Foundation.

Borja Prado, Chairman of Endesa and the Endesa Foundation, commented “we are extremely proud to be able to carry out this highly significant illumination project. Furthermore, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome and Spain have strong historical and cultural ties, hence the particular significance of this artistic illumination project and the Endesa Foundation's interest in carrying out the project.

The Endesa Foundation has joined this project with the aim of honouring the excellence of this extremely emblematic Basilica, using the most advanced energy efficiency and optimisation techniques, with the aim of saving up to 80% of power and energy, together with the finest artistic illumination. Enel Sole is responsible for carrying out the restoration and lighting adaptation works in the Basilica, given its vast knowledge and experience acquired in the illumination culture, using light as a fundamental element of expression and excellence in the design and construction of the facilities.

The activities planned in the Basilica shall be carried out in various rooms; the altar and baldachin, the Paolina Chapel dome and altarpiece, the Cesi Chapel, the Chapel of the Crucifix, the Sforza Chapel, the counter-façade and central aisle, the aisle and the crosses, the side aisle the side chancel and the statue of Regina Pacis.

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major, an old Catholic church, was built in the 4th century under the orders of Pope Liberio. This basilica located on top of Mount Esquilino, is considered the largest of the churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome and it is one of the four patriarchal basilicas in the Italian capital and the only one to preserve its Paleo-Christian structure.

Spain has been closely linked to the Saint Mary Major Basilica since the beginning. Beginning with the emperor Charles V and then his grandson Phillip III and his great-grandson Phillip IV, they all contributed with various donations to increase the splendour of the Basilica, thus becoming benefactors of Saint Mary Major.

There is also a statute of the Spanish King Phillip IV (1605-1665) in the portico of the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

In 1953, with the signing of the Concordato entre la Santa Sede y España, it was established that the Spanish kings would be honorary proto-canons of the Liberian Canons of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. In 1977, Spain’s King Juan Carlos I, accepted his appointment as honorary proto-canon.

About the Endesa Foundation

The Endesa Foundation, chaired by Borja Prado, has a clear commitment to social development through its educational projects, training to promote employment and a commitment to the environment and cultural initiatives.

It develops educational projects, promoting initiatives aimed at transforming and innovating education at all levels and fostering academic excellence in universities through scholarships, grants and lectures.

It promotes employment training projects, focusing on the promotion of talent, aimed at people at risk of social exclusion, low-income young entrepreneurs and professionals over the age of 50.

It implements environment-related initiatives related to ecological culture education and specific projects for the improvement of natural environments and areas used for industrial purposes, which is another of the Endesa Foundation’s commitments.

Lastly, the Foundation continues to promote the illumination of historical-artistic heritage properties and promoting, restoring and preserving art and culture.