Italian Ambassador Giovanni Umberto De Vito has honoured Fr Marius Zerafa with the ‘Cavaliere al Merito della Repubblica Italiana’ for his relevant contribution to the knowledge of Italian artistic heritage and cultural influence, as well as his active promotion of collaboration between Italian and Maltese personalities and Church and private institutions in these areas.

As a distinguished art academic, specialised in Italian art, member of the Accademia Tiberina and lecturer at the Angelicum University of Rome for several decades, Fr Zerafa has conducted highly appreciated seminars and conferences on Italy’s vast artistic heritage, often partnering with the Italian Institute of Culture in Valletta.

Fr Zerafa is best known for his outstanding role in the successful recovery of Caravaggio’s St Jerome Writing, following eight months of tactful negotiations with the thieves.

During the decoration ceremony, held at the Italian Institute of Culture, the Mr De Vito highlighted Fr Zerafa’s remarkable achievements and thanked him for his long-standing collaboration with the Italian embassy.

Several personalities attended the event, including President Emeritus Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.

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