In a church along one of Rome’s busiest shopping streets is a side chapel containing this 14th-century crucifix. Few tourists would even bother to venture in; those who do, almost certainly give it only a passing glance.
But what an amazing history this image has! In 1519, the church which stood on this site burned to the ground in a truly devastating fire. But one thing inexplicably survived: this wooden crucifix and the part of the church wall on which it was hanging. The Roman people considered its amazing survival to be a miracle, and a Confraternity of the Most Holy Crucifix was founded to encourage the faithful to venerate this miraculous image.
Only a few years later, the city of Rome was hit by the plague, and the desperate faithful decided to have a procession with this crucifix, all the way to St. Peter’s Basilica. A 19th-century Italian historian described the scene, noting that “a huge number of children were in the procession, all crying aloud, ‘Mercy! Mercy!'” It is said that when this crucifix passed through the various neighborhoods of Rome, the plague would immediately cease.
Since that time, processions with this crucifix became something of an intermittent tradition over the centuries, although there hasn’t been one for a while now. But the Roman faithful continue to venerate this image of our Crucified Lord to this very day. Tour Rome with us, and we’ll be happy to take you to see it!