Franciscan symbols

The Tau or tao:
TAU, is the last letter of the Greek alphabet that corresponds the T. The Pope Inocencio III, before a church poorer, he saw necessity of an urgent reformation, and convoked in the year 1215 the IV Letrán Council. Francis was there in the opening speech. Nine (9) years had lapsed, since he choosed his evangelical life and never had seen so clear he's way in life since that day he herd the Pontiff's words. The Pope Inocencio III, reading t

he Prophet Ezequiel, messenger GOD's pardon evoked they were signed by letter TAU, and he invited all the Christian to accept the TAU like symbol of an urgent spiritual renovation needed by Church. The Pope Inocencio III said: "The Tau is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, symbol of the humility he founded in this Gospel's words and sign characteristic of the sons of the Poverty. The Tau has the same form of the cross exactly in which one was nailed Christ...." These words were cllear indication of his desire and of the Church to be regenerated himself and absorbing the reformist movements of these times. Saint Francis mentioned it, from then on, made its own heraldry of the TAU, proclaimed by the Pope like emblem of the reformation. Saint Francis chosoe the sign TAU like symbol of his vocation and that of his followers. TAU was his firm; with it marked the places that inhabited, he subscribed his letters. He wanted their friars to take it, and was contemplated in vision by Fray Pacífico with the TAU in the forehead. For Franciscan it is part of the inheritance that Saint Francis left us. To take the TAU, means to record it in the heart, living a life with the Franciscan spirit, passing from the Gospel to the life from the life to the Gospel. It is the habit of the Seculars Franciscans.

The Cord or Cordon:

The cord that the Franciscans take, used formerly to get tied up the sayal, takes three knots that represents foundations of the Franciscan life that created by Saint Francis when creating the Franciscan Order that they are below to up: Obedience, Chastity and Poverty.


Each religious Order has its own habit, changes of form and colour. The brown one is the most knowed.
The tertiary habit is a sign of penance or conversion. To take the habit, is a public ceremony and means the candidate it is robbed of the old man to take a new

habit, a new man, image of the new life that is beginning. This Franciscan habit understands the cord and the scapular. To take the habit points out a commitment new, I am used life and a detachment of old costumes with renovation of the votes of the baptism. The postulant should be guided by the spirit of the Gospel. The rite of the taking of habit makes us enter in the Franciscan family and this way he roots more deeply in the Church. The taking of the habit is a moment in which God grants us a special grace. In feast, a ceremony, of taking the habit, approved by the Church, is an external sign of what is in heart, the postulant is carried out receives the scapular and the cord conversion signs and of the pertinence to the Lord. To receive the habit, he is to get dressed of Christ, he is to commit to take the life of Christ like behaviour, all the days of our life. To act like had made Christ in our place.

The Scapulary:
It is made of brown felt on which is sewn some cloths or printings that represent in the centre, inside an oval: the Franciscan shield: they are Jesus' arms and Francis leaving clouds and behind it is the Cruz, this shield, in their inferior part he has chains, to the right a laurel branch or olive tree, on which there are four crowns and to the left the olive tree branch or laurel, on her are a papal Mitre, of Bishops, up in the centre, a heart inside a crown of thorns; outside of the oval, in the corners of the square, four shields are: in the left superior part one similar to the one described inside the oval; in the right superior part, that of the 5 clusters of grapes, symbol of the five wounds; below to the left, a shield with the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels; below to the right, a shield with the Chu

rch of Saint Damian. En the other piece of the Scapular that goes on the chest, is represented, inside an oval, Saint Francis's im gen blessing with the right hand to the Brother León (of knees) and with the left he gives him a paper, the blessing written especially for him that is still conserved in Assisi. On their heads, they are small angels, and one of half body with a zither. Outside of the oval in the corner left above representing the Immaculate Conceptionn and to right the Christ of San Damian, in the left inferior corner San Luis IX King from France and to the right Santa Isabel from Hungary. In the inferior part of this square there is a rectangle with the representation of a ceremony in an altar, he seems to be San Francisco, two Siblings of knees and outside of the altar Franciscan patron saints, of foot and of knees. Each stamped piece is surrounded by a cord with knots. Both felt squares unite with tapes to arm the scapular, these are white in the period of formation and brown when the definitive votes are made.

The Christ of San Damian:

Anonymous painter's of the XII century Byzantine chart Assisi, Church of Santa Clara from 126O. For a detailed description, peal on the image of the Crucifix.


This are the most common: with the arms of Christ and Francis, over the cross, in this case a tao. The other is with five raceme grapes representing the five wounds of Christ.



Franciscans in the world Franciscan Calendar Saint Francis of  Assisi
Saint Clare of  Assisi Franciscans Symbols Franciscan's Devotions
Franciscan Crown Saint's   Damián Christ O.F.S. Rule
Jacopone da Todi Stabat Mater Dolorosa Links - Canticle


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Updated:Revisadas 10-04-2020.