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Oldest crucifix in St. Peter’s Basilica restored

November 14, 2016

A fourteenth-century wooden crucifix, the oldest in St. Peter’s Basilica, has been restored. Moved from a place of prominence to make room for Michelangelo’s Pietà, the crucifix was later placed behind an elevator shaft during the reign of Pope Pius XI (1922-39).

“Darkened and confined in a neglected spot and nearly unreachable, it was forgotten by many and was in some way taken away from the devotion of the faithful,” Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, secretary of the Fabric of St. Peter, said recently.

Following the recitation of the Angelus on November 13, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square that “this week the oldest wooden crucifix of St. Peter’s basilica has been reinstated for the devotion of the faithful; it dates from the fourteenth century. After a laborious work of restoration, it has been returned to its former splendor and will be hung in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, to recall the Jubilee of Mercy.”

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