Vatican — The President of the Republic, João Lourenço, today (Wednesday) honored the first ambassador of the Kongo kingdom to the Holy See, Dom Antonio Manuel Nvunda "Negrita", by placing a wreath on his grave.
In the Basilica of Santa Maria Maior (or Maggiore), the Angolan statesman, accompanied by the first lady, Ana Dias Lourenço, was received by Bishop Luigi Veturi.
Dom Antonio Manuel Nvunda, the then emissary of the kingdom of Kongo, arrived in Rome, Italy, in 1608, after four years of travel aboard a caravel, passing through Brazil and Spain.
By the way, the vicar of the Cathedral of Mbanza Kongo, Father Pedro Sampaio, contextualized this period, emphasizing that there was no slave trade.
With full power, the envoy of the king of Kongo had the mission to maintain direct contact with Pope Paul V to send missionaries to Mbanza Kongo, the current capital of the Angolan province of Zaire, for evangelization.
Antonio Manuel Nvunda arrived in Rome exhausted by travel setbacks, hardship and fatigue. He died days after landing in the capital of Italy. At the order of Pope Paul V, the remains of Antonio Manuel Nvunda, called "Negrita" by the Romans, were buried in the Schist V chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The Basilica remained as part of Italian territory and not of the Vatican after the Lateran Treaty (1929), signed between the Holy See and the then Kingdom of Italy, although the Holy See remains the owner of the building and the land.
Then the Angolan Head of State visited the nine Vatican Museums, today one of the most important museum complexes in the world. João Lourenço held contact, for example, with works of art from the Egyptian era until the end of the Renaissance.
The highlight of his visit was the Sistine Chapel.
The great attraction of this place is the set of frescoes painted by Miguel Ângelo, both on the ceiling and on the altar wall.
Besides Miguel Ângelo, other big names were part of the restoration.
Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli and Domenico Ghirlandaio painted a series of panels depicting the life of the prophet Moses and Jesus Christ.Today, the chapel is where the conclave takes place, which is the process by which a new Pope is chosen.
Signing of Agreements
Taking advantage of the visit of the President of the Republic to Rome, agreements were signed in the transalpine capital on oil contracts between the Angolan Government and ENI, the Italian oil and gas company ENI.
With the same company, and in the presence of Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed for the local Development Program (Angola).
Another Memorandum of Understanding dealt with the Health Initiatives and Concession Agreement for the construction and operation of the Caraculo Photovoltaic Power Station in Namibe.
The Angolan National Fuel Society (Sonangol) and the Italian group ENI last June set up a company for renewable energy production, which will start operating in early 2020.
At the time, ENI Angola's deputy director general, João Silva, said that the project will be implemented in two phases in the Caraculo region of Namibe province, southern Angola, with part of the energy produced for neighboring Huila province.
Although the project is not yet quantified, each phase should produce 25 megawatts of electricity.