Francis of Assisi
556 South Jersey Street; Denver, CO 80224
National Catholic Church (PNCC)
St. Francis of Assisi Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) @2008
San Damiano Cross
The crucifix on our church's altar platform is a copy of the one St.Francis of Assisi
was praying before when he heard the call from God "to rebuild my church". It was
made by the first priest of our church, Father Dallas Mustoe.
This cross is known as an 'Icon' cross. The purpose of an icon cross was to teach the
meaning of the event or events depicted. The shape of the cross is referred to as 'Tau'.
Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks like the letter "T". The first
recorded reference to Tau is from Ezekiel 9:4.
St. Francis used the 'Tau' in his writings and would paint it on the walls and doors
of the places where he was staying. He even used it as his signature in his writings.
The original San Damiano cross, St. Clare Basilica,
Father John Kalabokes
The original cross, approximately 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide, is a painting on linen glued to walnut. An unknown artist produced it sometime prior to 1205, the year in which Francis knelt before it in the San Damiano Chapel. The abandoned, neglected and half ruined condition of that chapel in 1205 suggests that the cross may be considerably older. Not much is known about this cross. The artist may have been a Syrian monk: the iconography shows a strong Byzantine influence, and local history says there had been Syrian monks in the Assisi area for centuries.
In 1257 the followers of Saint Clare of Assisi, the Poor Clares, left San Damiano for San Giorgio and took the Cross with them. They preserved it for seven centuries. In Holy Week of 1957 it went on public view in the Basilica of Saint Clare (Santa Chiara) in Assisi, where it may be seen today.
San Damiano Church
San Damiano church is a couple of miles away from the Basilica of San Francis in Assisi, Italy, surrounded by olive fields.
The faÃ§ade of the church is characterized by a portico that allows the access on the right side to the chapel of San Girolamo where there are present some frescoes of Tiberio of Assisi dating back from 1517 and 1522. The internal part, at one nave and apse decorated of frescoes from the 14th century, has a wooden choirs of the first years of the 16th century and a copy of the original Crucifix.
Inside the convent are present a Crucifixion of Pier Antonio Mezzastris from 1482, in the refectory some frescoes of Dono Doni and, in the cloister, the works of Eusebio da San Giorgio from 1507 representing "Saint Francis receiving the stigmata" and "the annunciation".
Interior of San Damiano Church
San Damiano Cross