Roman Catholic priest John Zorn has built an icon for the church that he hopes will encourage visitors to pray with him at Mass.
Zorn’s work, called The Holy Cross, has been in the works for a few years and was unveiled this week at the Pontifical Council for the Doctrine of the Faith.
It features the saintly cross of Saint Nicholas, whose relics were once the site of the holy Roman Empire.
The icon depicts a kneeling figure holding a cross in front of the Cross of St. Nicholas in the centre.
The cross is represented by a man holding a crucifix and holding a book, a scroll, and an egg.
The icon was crafted by Zorn from a small wooden piece of clay and then coated with silver to create the “Holy Cross” that will be installed on the altar at St. Ignatius Church in L’Aquila, Italy.
“I’m trying to show that it’s possible to build a beautiful icon for a Catholic church,” Zorn told The Associated Press.
“I hope that it will encourage people to be closer to Jesus Christ.”
Zorn has created an icon that will become part of a Vatican landmark and has made it available for viewing at a church near the basilica of St Peter in Rome.
He hopes that visitors to the basilicas will see it in the context of the life of Jesus Christ and that he can eventually have his icon built in another location.
He has been working on the project for two years and says it took him years to design the icon, but it’s now ready to be put up in the church and has already been painted and is ready for the public.
It will be on display at the Church of the Holy Cross in Liguria, a town of 3,000 in southern Italy, until February.
This is the first time the icon has been installed in a Catholic Church, and it’s expected to become the most prominent icon of the church in the world, Zorn said.
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Rome in March.