|Office of the
Provincial Spiritual Assistant
Fr. Christopher Panagoplos, TOR
Province of the Immaculate Conception
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"Almost all of the manusripts
that contain this simple prayer indicate its origin
at the foot of the crucifix in the
Chuch of San Damiano.
Most high, glorious
enlighten the darkness
of my heart and give me Lord,
a correct faith, a certain hope,
a perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
so that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.
It clearly reflects the struggle of
the early years of the saint's life as well as his ever-present desire to fulfill the will
of God. Thus it is a prayer that can be seen as characterizing the Poverello's
( The Classics of
Western Spirituality - Francis & Clare the Complete works p. 103 )
A Brief Explanation
of the SAN DAMIANO CROSS
By: Fr. Michael Scanlon, T.O.R.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Province, USA
Church of San Damiano
|The San Damiano Cross
is the one St. Francis was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to
rebuild the Church. The original cross presently hangs in Santa Chiarra (St.Clare)
Church in Assisi, Italy. All Franciscans cherish his cross as the
symbol of their mission from God.
cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who
have a part in the meaning of the cross. The tradition of such crosses began in the eastern
Church and was transported by Serbian monks to the Umbria district of Italy.
The San Damiano Cross was one of a number of crosses painted with similar figures during
the 12th century in Umbria. The name of the painter is unknown. The purpose of an icon
cross was to teach the meaning of the event depicted and thereby strengthen the faith of
the people. These conclusions have been reached based on a thorough study of the history
of the cross and the literature concerning it. Very little literature is available in
English. Most of it can only be read in Italian or French. The author also found it very
helpful to compare the cross to similar crosses in Umbrian art.
Finally, much of the
English literature on the cross is faulty in its analysis since it dates back to sources
prior to 1938 when the cross was restored to its original depiction.
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