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Spectacular restoration of St. Peter's Basilica's oldest crucifix


This is how the precious depiction of Christ crucified looks after a year of intense restoration work.

The Vatican Museums explained how a team from the Fabric of St. Peter managed to recover the beauty of this piece. Made of wood, it's condition was deteriorated by the passage of time down the centuries.

It measures more than six and a half feet tall and weighs 155 lbs. It is not known who produced the masterpiece, although some documents suggest that it could have been Pietro Cavallini in the first decade of the 14th century.

They had to use the most modern technology to eliminate the layers of paint that had been applied over the original so as to mask the wear over the years.

BARBARA JATTA
Director of the Vatican Museums

“The technique was very complex because it was a very ancient crucifix with different layers of paint on it so the use of the laser was done by the restorers and the “Fabrica of San Pietro” chose very high professional restorers because they had to use specific techniques to not destroy what was under the layers”

They restored it in preparation for the Jubilee of Mercy that the pope inaugurated in November 2015. In fact, this crucifix starred in his meeting with people from prison.

CARD. ANGELO COMASTRI
Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica

"The crucifix is the proof of the infinite goodness of God to us. Before this crucifix we can say as St. Paul said: 'Christ has loved me and has suffered for me.'

We decided to place it in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament of St. Peter's Basilica. It is a secluded place, and there it will be next to the Eucharist, where the living presence of Jesus is found. It is a presence that challenges us and that demands from us an answer."

Throughout its history, the crucifix has been displayed in several places throughout St. Peter's Basilica. Dante, St. Francis and St. Catherine of Siena prayed before it. Likewise, now thousands of pilgrims, follow in their footsteps and can find it in that very same place.