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Even though the Airport Chaplaincy “Madonna di Loreto” of the Airport of Milano-Linate was ‘only’ canonically erected in 2002, the current chapel was built in 1989 and the history of the Linate-Airport Church is even older. The existence of an oratory was documented in the sixties and over time, it has been entrusted to the care of both the diocesan clergy and the Military Ordinariate (which was already operating in the neighbouring military airport).
Before the current chapel, there was another outside the airport, where today stand multi-storey car parks. Prior to that, the chapel existed inside the airport.
Interno Cappella

The Chapel “Madonna di Loreto” of the Airport of Milano-Linate is characterised by fine artwork that makes it one of a kind among airport chapels around the world.

Painting of the Madonna di Loreto – Aviation Saint Patron
This painting was present in the first airport chapel and commissioned in 1963 by SEA-Aeroporti of Milan to Father Costantino Ruggeri, a painter and architect, and Franciscan friar of the Canepanova convent in Pavia. It represents the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus who holds, in his right hand, a small aeroplane, a symbol of protection. The same artist restored it in 1995.
Madonna di Loreto

San Giuseppe

Painting of Saint Joseph Worker – Patron of Linate workers
Painted by Mr Alberto Lumini, a former SEA-Aeroporti of Milan employee, it was revealed in 1991. It represents Saint Joseph wearing a carpenter’s apron and his eyes and hands facing down, where the various working sectors of the airport are portrayed.

The Madonna of the olive tree or of peace.
During the Holy Christmas of 1991, Franco Manzi, the then President of SEA-Aeroporti of Milan, gave the chapel this artistic low-relief made of bronze and defined by a Baroque style wooden frame. Milanese sculptor Enrico Pandiani made the artwork in 1895 and it reproduces a painting by Ligurian painter, Nicolò Barabino (1832-1891). The Madonna appears sitting on a throne, wrapped in a regal mantle, while holding baby Jesus on her knees. The Baby shakes a small olive branch, hence the title of the work “The Madonna of the olive tree” or of peace. The airport, being a “crossroads of people”, is the ideal place for the exchange of peace.

Madonna dell'Ulivo
Il Tabernacolo

The Tabernacle
The first of a series of fine artworks created by Prof. Alberto Ceppi of Meda, the Tabernacle of the “Madonna di Loreto” Chapel at the Airport of Milano-Linate, is something very unique and presents deep theological meanings. Firstly, it shows Jesus as the heart of the world (the globe is placed at the centre of a luminous glass wall that represents the cosmos). He’s also the heart of the Church and in particular, of the Linate community (workers and passengers are portrayed in the two ellipsis on the sides) and finally the Jesus Christ that is the heart of the world and the Church, as he died and resurrected (the big halo cross in which the globe is sitting on).
Not forgotten are the memories of those in our community who passed away as well as the victims of other aerial disasters, represented by the angels engraved in the glass on top of the two ellipses, including the Trinity which is represented by three doves. A technical note: it is forbidden to keep candles lit in the chapel outside times of celebration: here the traditional red lamp that usually indicates the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament in the tabernacle has been replaced by a laser beam that lights the centre of the globe at the crossing of the Greek letter☧.

The Tabernacle was revealed on 8 December 1992.

The ecumenical sculpture behind the altar.
The current chapel was conceived as “ecumenical” and it is therefore open to other groups of the Christian faith. In order to better qualify it as such, the work of art located behind the altar that can express the concept of ecumenism was created. The reference is to the prologue of the Gospel according to John where it says: “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.  
La Scultura Ecumenica
(John 1:4-5). The artwork portrays these concepts: the Most Holy Trinity is symbolised by the triangle on the top left that reveals itself to Jesus as light and life (the golden tiles of the mosaic inside the ellipse and the “starry” explosion in the middle). In the world (the large ellipse of circumference) are people who welcome Jesus as light and life (the lit precious stones) and others that reject him (the unlit stones and the black “stain” on the right).
This artwork was revealed on 8 December 1993.

The twenty mysteries of the rosary on the sidewalls of the Chapel.
 The mysteries of the rosary placed on the chapel walls want to remind us of rosary beads. “The light, glass melted into one, opalescent, and blown, want to express the poetry as well as the force and the excitement of the facts told in the twenty mysteries. Four fragments of a large crown hung on the wall, are crossed by a strip of the golden mosaic that expands sideways. The colours of the Joyful Mysteries are fresh and transparent. Those of the Luminous Mysteries are full of light and joy… they become dark and dramatic in the Sorrowful Mysteries but then return to being warm and lively in the Glorious Mysteries.

The symbolism expressed in the shapes is numerous: the round ones remind us of rosary beads but also aeroplane portholes… the musical notes of a prayer... ten drops of glass on every mystery like ten Hail Marys… thirty three bronze rings like the age of Jesus… the transparent circle with the event engraved reminds us of our projection through time, the gothic writing reminds us of His historical authenticity” (from the presentation of Professor A. Ceppi).

These artworks were revealed between 1997 and 2003.

The “Memorial Monument” to the victims of aerial disasters and for the deceased airport workers
The idea of preparing a “Memorial Monument”, being a place of memory to remember the 118 victims of the Linate air disaster on 8 October 2001 and the deceased airport workers, was immediately agreed following the Linate tragedy. The artwork, again by Alberto Ceppi, consists of a large ellipse (a dominant geometric shape in the chapel), its base housing bronze symbolic representations of Linate airport: the control tower, the front of the airport and the “toboggan” (the place assigned to the baggage sorting), which was the place of the tragedy.
From the base a bevy of seagulls fly upwards towards the blue sky. The resurrected Christ dominates the centre of the ellipse; he transformed death into life (the vine branches with grapes) and pain into peace and joy (olive branches). The ellipse is surrounded by words from the Book of Wisdom: “the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them." (Wisdom 3:1-9).

This artwork was presented and blessed by Cardinal Tettamanzi in 2004.


The stele in the memory of the victims of the Linate air crash of 2001
 “Father, into your hands we commit their spirit”. During the tenth anniversary of the Linate tragedy, the current Chaplain Father Fabrizio Martello wanted to honour the memory of the victims replacing the board with the victims’ names with a ‘gravestone’.
Instead of marble or stone, a Plexiglas plate was decided upon that suggests the image of an open book onto which the names of the victims are ‘transparently’ engraved. A coloured mosaic strip highlights the centre of the book that from intense blue progresses into light blue and pink reminding us of dawn. Some tiles have rainbow colours. The writing is presented between two thin golden borders. From the pages of this “ideal book” a tree grows (on top, in bronze) on which a ladder leans, taking our eyes towards the moon and the universe, towards the Mystery, the Infinite and the Transcendent.

This artwork was revealed in 2011.

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