St Francis' Feast
Assisi (Umbria region), Italy
On 4th October, the date of death of the saint, St. Francis is celebrated as the Patron of Italy at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi. The celebration of St Francis' feast begins on the evening of the 3rd October with the eucharistic ceremonies. The feast is based on the lighting of a votive lamp in the crypt of St Francis at the Basilica of Assisi, using the holy oil provided by each Italian region in turn, as a sign of blessing and guidance for every Christian.
St Francis and the "Feast of Pardon in Assisi"
On 1st and 2nd August, at the Portiuncula chapel in Santa Maria degli Angeli basilica, it is celebrated the plenary indulgence, during the Feast of Forgiveness, also known as the "Pardon of Assisi".
The ceremony is inspired by a story about Francis. It is told that in one night of the year 1216 St. Francis had a vision of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, Who asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis' reply was immediate: "Lord, though I am poor and sinner, I pray that to all those who repented and confessed and come to visit this church, You give full and generous pardon, with a complete remission of all sins".
The recurrence over the centuries has become an intense expression of faith with elements of folklore, for the many faithful going to the little church asking God for forgiving their own sins.
Info & Contact
Tourism Office in Assisi
Address: Piazza del Comune - 06081 Assisi, Perugia
Tel.: +39 075.8138680 / 8138681
Fax: +39 075.8138686
The Nativity Scene of St Francis
Greccio (Rieti, Lazio region), Italy
Francis, returning from his trip to the Middle East, in 1223 decided to celebrate the Nativity of Christ with a simple and direct living representation, for the benefit of the people. The choice fell on the place of Greccio in Rieti, near Fonte Colombo, where Francis used to stay as a hermit. He obtained permission from Pope Honorius III, and then called John Velita, Lord of Greccio, saying: "I want to celebrate with you on Christmas Eve. Choose a cave, where you will build a manger, and bring me there an ox and a donkey, and seek to reproduce, as far as possible, the stable of Bethlehem! This is my desire, because I want to see at least once, with my own eyes, the birth of the Divine Infant". So, that night the first living Nativity scene in the world took place, gaining soon an immense popularity and inaugurating a tradition that continues until today.
In the video below a reportage from the Living Nativity of Greccio (in Italian language). Copyright Proloco Greccio
In the image here below a scene from the Greccio Living Nativity, copyright Massimo Rinaldi, source www.fotovideopm.it