Patti Smith to Play Vatican Christmas Concert

The concert will be broadcast on Christmas Eve in Italy

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ope Francis greets Patti Smith during the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 10th, 2013.
Pope Francis greets Patti Smith in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican in 2013. The singer will perform at a special Vatican Christmas Concert next month. REUTERS/OSSERVATORE ROMANO/LANDOV

Patti Smith will be among the performers at the Concerto di Natale, the Vatican's annual Christmas concert held in Rome since 1993, next month, according to The Independent. The concert will take place at Auditorium Conciliazione, a venue located about a 15-minute walk from the heart of Vatican City, on December 13th. The Italian-language newspaper Il Corriere della Sera suggests that Pope Francis invited Smith, according to International Business Times. The program – which will also feature DJ Bob Sinclar and the singing nun who won this year's edition of The Voice of Italy, Sister Cristina Scuccia – will be broadcast on Christmas Eve in the country.

Smith, who sang, "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine" on her cover of Them's "Gloria," met the Pope last year in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. She described the pontiff as being "very interesting" at the time and said she "liked him a lot," according to Huffington Post (via CathNews USA).

"I wrote the first lines of 'Gloria' when I was 20," the singer, who was raised Jehovah's Witness but "left organized religion at 12 or 13," told Rolling Stone earlier this year. "I recorded it some years later for Horses, but really, it was a declaration of self, not so much about Jesus. He is the vehicle, but I was declaring my existence, my right to make my own mistakes, my right to make my own choices. I was defining the type of artist that was entering the domain of rock & roll and the type of artist that I was, one who was going to make her own decisions."

Smith explained her relationship with Christianity in the context of her song "Mercy Is," which appeared in Darren Aronofsky's film Noah earlier this year. "I have a very strong biblical background," she said. "I studied the bible quite a bit when I was young and continue to study it, independent of any religion, but I still study it."

The singer will end 2014 with concerts at New York City's Webster Hall on December 29th and 30th. She has a West Coast tour planned for January, but beyond that, the singer says she hopes to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Horses with special, yet-to-be-booked concerts. "The exact date is November 10th, and I want to celebrate it in New York in a special way," Smith told Rolling Stone. "We have things we'll be doing in Paris and London, everywhere, because it's a true milestone. I'm proud to have a milestone like that."

Patti Smith U.S. Tour Dates:

December 29 - New York @ Webster Hall
December 30 - New York @ Webster Hall
January 19 - Seattle @ Moore Theatre
January 20 - Portland @ Crystal Ballroom
January 23 - San Francisco @ The Fillmore
January 24 - San Francisco @ The Fillmore
January 26 - Santa Cruz @ Rio Theatre
January 27 - Santa Barbara @ Granada Theatre
January 29 - Los Angeles @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
January 30 - Los Angeles @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
January 31 - San Diego @ Balboa Theatre

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