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Posted June 12, 2005

Painting honoring Pope John Paul II
is unveiled at U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a room in the U.S. Capitol, set apart from hallways filled with tourists and tucked between committee hearing rooms, a Russian Orthodox woman, Natalia Tsarkova, unveiled her painting honoring Pope John Paul II May 19 before a small crowd that included a handful of government officials.

"This is an answer to prayer," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., before the painting, draped in red velvet, was shown to the luncheon crowd.

Brownback said he has been praying that "art would come back that presents the truth and presents it grandly" and added that the art world was in need of "wonderful, lasting art that appeals to the eye and the soul."

The oil painting is 5 feet 10 inches tall and called "La Madonna della Luce" (Our Lady of Light). It depicts Pope John Paul's luminous mysteries of the rosary with an image of Mary holding the baby Jesus and surrounded by angels. A miniature portrait of Pope John Paul is painted in the rim of one of the angel's trumpets.