Japan World Exposition - Osaka 1970 - Expo'70

Human progress and harmony

March 15, 1970 - September 13, 1970


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Vatican

Vatican at the Exhibition Expo Osaka 1970

© Expo'70

Vatican City's participation in the Japan International Exposition took the form of co-sponsoring and actively supporting the Christian pavilion, built by the joint effort of Catholics and Protestant Christians in Japan.
Japanese Christians felt challenged by the World Expo to give a common witness to the saving message of Christ, and to this end they pooled their resources to build the Christian pavilion. Its main theme was "eyes and hands", i.e. the discovery of man with the eyes of faith and love, and service to humanity, following the teaching and example of Christ.

The Vatican has helped to illustrate this theme by sending a facsimile of a precious biblical manuscript from the fourth century, the Vatican Greek manuscript 1209, kept in the Vatican Library. It shows the sacred sources of the Christian faith, which unites Christians of all places and times.

The theme of the pavilion was further illustrated by three tapestries with biblical motifs, which are on loan from the Vatican. Around 1515, Raphael designed the drawings for the tapestries, which were woven in Brussels.

The scenes depicted on the tapestries are as follows:
1. The miraculous catch of fish, told in Luke 5, 1-10;
2. The appearance of the risen Christ at Lake Tiberias, with Christ examining Peter's love, giving him the keys, and trusting with his lambs, according to John 21, 11-17;
3. Paul's preaching in Athens, announcing to the Athenians the "unknown" God and the resurrection of Christ, according to Acts 17:17-34.

This participation of Vatican City in the Christian pavilion was an important contribution to the ecumenical movement. It also symbolised the spiritual links between Christianity in Japan and the Western Christian world and its ancient traditions.