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THE CRUCIFIX OF SAINT DAMIAN
There is the Saint Damian's Crucifix, it talked to Francis. It was the summer of 1205, Saint Francis, while he was praying he heard a voice that told to him: "Vade, Francisce, et repara domun meam" ( "Francis, Go and build up my house, for it is falling to ruins."). "From that instant it was recorded in Francis's soul the compassion of the Crucified (2Cel 10). "From then on he cried for Christ's passion always had before his eyes" (2Celano11).
Francis had changed in Espoleto the chivalry for the chivalry of Christ. It crossed a long stage of searching, prayed in lonely places: "Lord, what do you want me to make"?. Now, in Saint Damian, had to reconstruct Christ's " house ". to build a new Church, beginning with the own one, we are Church we should build the Church of our time, as Francis had made in his time.
HISTORY OF THE CRUCIFIX.
A table painted by an unknown author of Umbria
about a hundred years before Saint Francis contemplated it, is romanic style, with
Byzantine or oriental influences. It was in the Saint Damian apse, Oratory located in the
outskirts of Assisi, where today there is an duplicated from original. The original one is
in Saint Clara's basilica. It measures 2,10 of tall for 1,30 of wide. It has been
restaurated, immunised. Similar Crucifixes not equal, are conserved in Espoleto, Assisi,
Perusa, Florencia, Sarzana and the Vatican.
It is an icon, a religious element, painting, made especially to contemplate and be contemplates, to see in the image, the history narrated without words, feel each detail of symbolism, it describes the scenes that the characters witnessed: the Passion, the Resurrection and the Ascention. In it stands out Christ's central figure, and of the characters under His arms, all placed on a bottom of golden square.
This cross represents the Resuscitated Christ. It is of inspiration Sirius-antioquian (from the VII century, there were Syrian monks near Espoleto) reproduce glorious Christ after the Passion.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ICON.
The symbolism have not arrived us with clarity,
different versions and explanations exist, we try to summarise those that we had readed
and what we can observe in the Icon.
The Christ of the Cross is alive, erect, it leaves the Cross, on His head there is not crowns of thorns, but a crown of glory, in which we find the lines of the cross. This crown or halo shines, with the Cross indicated in lines, it is luminous because He has conquered the death. On His front a protuberance whose meaning we don't know. The tunic is an perizoma linen adorned with gold. The linen and the gold were used for the priest garments (Ex 28,42), the cord has three knots, the Trinity,the lining inner is blue indicating royalty and alliance. The position of Jesus means: He is the centre of the world, and His arms have a welcome expression: embrace the universe and He receives all people. The 33 (Chrits's age) persons or characters are those witness of the Passion and Resurrection, and they surround the Resuscitated they are the symbol of the communion of Saints of all the times. Jesus's feet have black bottom, He seems to win out the death. The blood that springs from Jesus' wounds falls on the characters around Him: All are saved by the Passion and Christy's Blood and for their Faith. Of the holed feet the blood falls on six characters almost all erased by the time, maybe they are: 1, 2 Saint John the Baptist and Saint Michael; 3, 4 Saint Paul and Saint Peter; 5, 6 Saint Damian, Patron of the Chapel and Saint Rufino, Patron of Assisi. In each one of the extremities of the traverse axis of the Cross, there are two angels showing Christ with their hands'expression. The characters under Jesus' arms, have their names below at each one's feet and the're only ones painter had named. They have the same stature, this is, they had believed in Him and their Gospel. If we observe, they have the big eyes, the small mouth, oval face, as the Byzantine Icons. If we look at Jesus, we find in Him those same characters. Christ is lightly returned toward the right to John, who receives His blood directly from the side, he looks in the same address as Christ does. Mary's face is inclined maternally toward John. Her right hand points out to John. Her left hand down the chin indicates pain, but at the same time it expresses acceptance. Her face expresses love to the Son. Our Lady dressed a white mantle, sign of purity. On the mantle, she has decorations in blue and pink that symbolise numerous beautiful stones put in line, they are the gifts of the Sacred Spirit. Under the white mantle brown dress, symbol of humility. She also wear a purple tunic, this is, royalty and the cloth's colour with were lined the Ark of the Alliance: Herself is true Ark of the Alliance and Queen of Heaven and Earth. At the left of Jesus, is Mary Magdalen and Mary of Jacome or Jacobi, mother of Santiago, which seem to be told something one to another. The Roman Centurion is next to them, raising the fingers, it recognises the two natures of Christ: human and divine; he has in the left hand, covered by the mantle, a piece that could be wood or stone. Is it the angular stone that the architects discarded? He has three extended fingers and two double up, he can indicate: in three days He builts the Church, with His Resurrection. The Centurion represents the multitude of persons that had believed without having knowledge of God before and of His Son, Jesus, have had constant inspiration of the Sacred Spirit. On the Centurion's back the servant's face, healed by Jesus, back three small heads that evoke to the people of God. Below there are two witness painted in reduced dimension, because they didn't believe in Jesus: two characters that represent the Romans and Hebrews present in the Passion, to right of Jesus, the Roman soldier that crossed the side of the Crucified, called Longinu or Longinos with the lance, on the left is one person that probably is Joseph of Arimatea, their rich dresses, he is a man of certain age, the painter doesn't place him the name; others say that he is Stephen, that offered Jesus vinegar's sponge, carrying out, this way unconscious, the psalmist's prediction (Salt 69,22). To the left of the legs is an small rooster, its song remembers our human weakness, it invites us to be attentive for not denying it like made Peter. The rooster is also symbol of the rising Sun. This Sun is Jesus whose light spreads over the world. Our look can not cross with Crucified's look: He looks The Father, beyond us. His eyes, are serene love's look , seems to invite us to encounter the Father. Jesus' neck is very robust. This because, after the resurrection, before His pupils, infuse over they, saying: "Receive the Sacred Spirit. To whom forgive their sins ..." (Jo 20,22). Above the inscription IHS NAZARE and under: "REX IVDEORV", over IHS two lines indicating: Jesus' name is abbreviated, placed on red, love, King of the Jews placed on black, death, for this cause they crucified Him. In each hand there is a Saint, they could also be John and Peter they went to the sepulchre the third day, the face of the person in His left hand, is similar to that of Juan's figure, under the right arm. At the top of the Crucifix, is an circle in which, have red bottom, in which is painted Christ ascending, dressed with an the white long habit, a golden tunic and a brown stole, with a golden Cross shining on the top of the staff that holds in the left hand, sign of the victory over death and He is the Church's shepherd. The circle is an perfection symbol, the head stands out the contour, and the right hand of the Resuscitated, He is ascending to the Father. He enters alive with His body into the Eternity and He still remains looking toward us. Ten Angels express happiness, two central angels surround glorious Christ, extending their wings on Him, His halo has the marks that symbolise the Cross. The God's hand occupies the highest space in the crucifix. We find an inferior half circle's half, nobody see superior's half. God's hand is blessing His Son that ascends, and with Him, He is blessing all the people. Other symbols exist: seven protuberances or nails'heads in glory's halo, are gifts of the Sacred Spirit; surroundings, on the golden line, 33 nails' heads, it is the age of Christ; in the external bank there are sea shells, they represent the eternity; over the black and red border, many white designs similar to branches of climbing, they could be vineshoots of the vine that Jesus pointed out in His parable, but in the left superior border there are not them, they are substituted by four squares with Liz flowers, it is the same symbol that is in the shield of the crusaders or in Franciscan shields, in a same way three symbols are observed in the glory's halo, with four points each one, maybe the 12 Israe's tribus. At the foot of the cross it seems to have a stone, symbol of the Church and a reference of salm 95:1 "...the rock of our Salvation".
Francis invites us to pray:
"Oh Supreme and Glorious God, illuminates the darkness of my heart, give me direct faith, it certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
to complete your saint and truthful commandment"
PEACE AND GOOD!
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Updated: Revisadas 10-04-2020