Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?

“On the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Knights of Columbus was proud to support an initiative to restore a stunning — yet nearly forgotten — masterpiece of sacred art: a 700-year-old crucifix in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Pope Francis is pictured with the newly restored medieval crucifix (at right) during the Jubilee Mass for Prisoners in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 6, 2016. Photo by L’Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis is pictured with the newly restored medieval crucifix (at right) during the Jubilee Mass for Prisoners in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 6, 2016. Photo by L’Osservatore Romano

Depicting the dying Christ with his head resting on his right shoulder, the wooden sculpture was caked with nine layers of paint and riddled with cracks and woodworm holes. Once a popular and much venerated work, it was eventually relegated to a peripheral chapel of the basilica behind an elevator shaft.

Plans that were already in motion to renovate the crucifix were accelerated with the April 2015 announcement of the holy year.

‘We hope that this remarkable image of Christ’s suffering will serve as a reminder to all who see it of the great love our Savior has for each one of us,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, “and of the depths of his mercy, always ready to embrace and forgive us.’

After 15 months of painstaking labor by a professional team of restorers and the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office responsible for maintaining the basilica, the refurbished crucifix was exposed for public devotion during the final weeks of the holy year in late 2016.

At the request of Pope Francis, it was first displayed at the basilica’s Altar of the Confession, to the right of Bernini’s baldacchino, for the Jubilee Mass for Prisoners Nov. 6, 2016, and then again for the Jubilee Mass for the Socially Marginalized Nov. 13.

‘The oldest wooden crucifix of St. Peter’s Basilica, dating back to the 14th century, was restored for the devotion of the faithful,’ Pope Francis announced at the conclusion of his Nov. 13 Angelus address. ‘After arduous restorations, it was brought back to its ancient splendor and will be placed in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament as a reminder of the Jubilee of Mercy.’

The crucifix was carved in the early 1300s by an anonymous sculptor of remarkable skill and religious sensitivity. The figure of Christ is represented at the moment of his death.

‘“The face is marvelous — his eyes are still open, yet the astonished pupils are already fixed on eternity; the lips of his half-open mouth are strained in the last spasm of life’ explained Dr. Pietro Zander, chief archeologist of the Fabbrica di San Pietro. ‘One could say that the artist has captured the instant when, according to the Gospel accounts, Jesus uttered a loud cry (Mk 15:37) and exclaimed, ‘It is finished.’ Then bowing his head he handed over his spirit (Jn 19:30).’

Measuring 7 feet from head to toe, the torso and legs were crafted from a single piece of seasoned walnut; the arms, made from separate pieces of the same tree, span 6 feet 4 inches. Altogether, it weighs 159 pounds…”

This article was published in the K of C Columbia Magazine on-line and you can find a link to the above story by clicking here and on: facebook.com/IWknights9981 or find us at www.IWKnights.com

We would like to talk with you about becoming an IW Knight.  Please visit us on-line at our web site: www.IWknights.com/AboutUs.  Or, call Rob at: (314) 973-2373.

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