Assisi Basilica and the Tomb, Life and Biography of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, Piazza Inferiore di San Francesco, Assisi, Perugia, Italija

Website of the Sanctuary

+39 075 819001

Daily: Lower church and the tomb 6.00 am - 7.00 pm

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The great complex of the Assisi Basilica of Francis in Italy and the Sacred Convent

Located in the west of the hill on which stands the town of Assisi, it has gradually structured in the XIII-XV. Presents the visitor who comes from the plain with its architecture both simple and majestic.

The history and the structure of the Sacred Convent, a place of life of the Franciscan friars and the residence of the popes. Others are dedicated to the Basilica of Francis in Assisi with three overlapping halls of the crypt with the tomb of St. Francis, the lower church and the Upper Church.

Some areas of the large property at the service of important works, such as the rich Treasure Museum which occupies part of the original papal palace. The Library and Documentation Centre Franciscan ‘s Theological Institute of Assisi Italy, which hosts academic activity and theological research, which is accessed from the cloister of Sixtus IV.

Groups may make reservations to celebrate in the Tomb/Crypt Church at 8.00 AM and 9.00 AM or at in St. Catherine’s Chapel at 12.00 Noon and 4.00 PM.

Assisi Basilica and the Tomb, Life and Biography of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy


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The shop of religious articles and souvenirs of Assisi Italy, run by brothers, with a large section dedicated to herbalism, is another of the environments that are accessed directly from the terrace top of the Cloister.

The Portiuncula

The church dedicated to Santa Maria degli Angeli, built probably in the fourth century and later passed into the ownership of the Benedictine monks, named after the area called ” Portiuncula “, which literally means the small portion of land on which it stood.

Remained for a long time in a state of neglect, was the third church to be restored directly to St. Francis after the “mandate” received from the crucifix of San Damiano.

Assisi Basilica and the Tomb, Life and Biography of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy

Life and biography of Saint Francis of Assisi 

  • Basilica of Francis in Assisi Italy – Lower and Upper Church1181-82: Francis was born in Assisi to Pietro di Bernardone and his wife Lady“Pica”,in his father’s absence. He was christened Giovanni (John), but when his father came back from his business trip he named him Francis.
  • 1202: There was an open skirmish between Perugia and Assisi. The opposing armies clashed at Collestrada and Perugia won. Francis was one of the Assisi soldiers taken prisoner, and he was held captive in Perugia for about a year.
  • 1204: Francis went through a long illness. Towards the end of the year he decided to go to Apulia to fight under Gualtiero di Brienne, but when he reached Spoleto he had a mysterious vision which made him change his plans and go back to Assisi.
  • 1205: Francis’ twenty-fourth year marked the beginning of his conversion: he renounced his friends and his happy-go-lucky lifestyle; he engaged in a life of intensive prayer; he met and kissed the leper; he saw the Crucifix of San Damiano and heard its voice; he made a pilgrimage to Rome and had his first experience of poverty.
  • 1206: Francis renounced his father’s wealth. He rebuilt the three small churches of San Damiano, San Pietro della Spina and the Porziuncola.
  • 1208: In spring he listened to the Gospel of the votive mass of the Apostles at the Porziuncola, which brought to light his evangelical and apostolic vocation. That same year, the first companions joined him, thus constituting the embryonic core of theFirst Franciscan Order.
  • 1209: Composes a first short rule and with his companions goes to Rome to have the approval of the Pope, which was granted “orally”. It begins with the words: “This is the rule and life of the lesser brothers to live the the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in poverty, chastity and obedience.”
    1210: Forced to leave the stall at Rivotorto, the growing fraternity moves to the Porziuncola through the kindness of the Benedictines.
  • 1212: Chiara, eighteen years old, flees to the Porziuncola, where Francis consecrates her to God by cutting her hair and vesting her in the garb of a consecrated virgin living with in a Benedictine Monastery of Nuns, and after a short time her sister Agnes joins her and thus begins Second Franciscan Order, the Poor Clares. Their first monastery is at the Church of San Damiano. At the end of this year, Francis attempts a missionary journey to Syria but the winds bring him back to Dalmatia and Ancona.
  • 1217: At Pentecost during the first general chapter at the Portiuncula are created 12 Franciscan provinces or districts.
  • 1219: At Pentecost chapter at the Portiuncula, it was decided to send the Franciscans in Germany, France, Hungary, Spain and Morocco. The five that reach Morocco are martyred. Francis himself embarks for Ancona and reaches the Crusaders’ camp at Damietta.
  • 1221: Francesco scrive la Regola detta ‘non bollata’, che viene presentata nel Capitolo di Pentecoste.
  • 1223: Francis, at Fontecolombo draws up the final rule, “regula bullata” which Pope Honorius III approves on November 29 with the Bull, “Solet annuere”. The original rule is kept at the Basilica of St. Francis. At Christmas, with the consent of the Pope, Francis celebrates the Nativity Scene at Greccio.
  • 1224: On September 17, at La Verna, Francis receives the impression of the stigmata.
  • 1225: At San Damiano, Francis composes the Canticle of Brother Sun, also known as Canticle of the Creatures .
  • 1226: On the evening of October 3 at 44, Francis of Assisi dies at the Porziuncola. The next day is brought to Assisi and placed temporarily in San Giorgio, his parish church.
  • 1228: Card. Ugolino, now Pope Gregory IX, on July 16 in Assisi canonizes Francis and the following day, July 17 lays the first stone of the new Basilica in his honor.
  • 1230: May 25: Solemn procession transferring of the body of St. Francis from his parish church of San Giorgio to the new basilica, which Gregory IX, with the Bull “Is qui ecclesiam suam”, had the previous April 22 declared directly under the Roman Pontiff, and “Caput et Mater” (“Head and Mother”) Church of the Order of the Friars Minor.

first impression that strikes us in the light entering the square, and especially before you visited the Upper Church, is that of a darkness in which it is difficult to orientate.

The Lower Church presents itself as a serious, powerful, dark building arches crushed and sometimes prone in stark contrast to the Upper Church sleek, spacious, airy, bright. The Lower Church par kneeling to pray at the tomb of the saint, the Superior par songs that soaring skyward. The first invites to meditation, penance and silence, the second expansion and joy.

The two buildings above seems to allude to the double story of human life: first during earthly and painful, then the heavenly and joyful. The union of the two buildings also expresses the concept that the typical Franciscan Perfect joy (Upper Church) can be born only on the sacrifice freely accepted (Lower Church).

Assisi Basilica and the Tomb, Life and Biography of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy

The nave of the Lower Church looks like a dark tunnel formed by the mighty ribs of the arches set at eye level. The eye is drawn to the calm brightness of the main altar and the sails of the cruise above it.

The allegorical paintings, recorded in the four triangles of the time, are not mere decoration or ornament pleasant but are things of the Franciscan: are the allegorical figures of holiness to which Francis came in observance of Obedience, Chastity and Poverty.

The subtle systematic treatment and painting reveals that the work was performed under strict and constant supervision of a Franciscan theologian to whom the painter had to obey.

Sails are one of the most luminous of the collaboration between the creator of the religious “subject” and the performer secular work of art, according to the customs and traditions of the Middle Ages.

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The church dedicated to Santa Maria degli Angeli, built probably in the fourth century and later passed into the ownership of the Benedictine monks, named after the area called ” Portiuncula “, which literally means the small portion of land on which it stood. Remained for a long time in a state of neglect, was the third church to be restored directly to St. Francis after the “mandate” received from the crucifix of San Damiano.

Francis in AssisiHe clearly understands his vocation here and here he founded the Order of Friars Minor in 1209, entrusting the protection of the Virgin Mother of Christ, which the church is dedicated. Francis got a gift from the Benedictines the place and the chapel to make the center of the new order emerging.

March 28, 1211, Clare of Favarone of Offreduccio you receive from the Holy habit, initiating the Order of the Poor Ladies (the Poor Clares). In 1216, in a vision, Francis obtained from Jesus himself the indulgence known as “Indulgence of the Portiuncula” or “Pardon of Assisi”, approved by Pope Honorius III. The Portiuncula, which was and is the center of the Franciscan, the Poverello gathers every year his brothers in Chapters (general assemblies), to discuss the Rule, to find again the fervor and start to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Groups may make reservations to celebrate in the Tomb/Crypt Church at 8.00 AM and 9.00 AM or at in St. Catherine’s Chapel at 12.00 Noon and 4.00 PM.

Portiuncula – Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels

By Pope St. Pius V (1566-1572), in order to keep the chapels of the Portiuncula, the Transit and the Rose Garden and other places made sacred by the memory of St. Francis, and accommodate the many pilgrims who come from everywhere to visit them, between 1569 and 1679 is built the great Basilica of St. Maria degli Angeli.

The original design of Galeazzo Alessi (1512-1572) is characterized by strict structural simplicity, conformity to the ideal of Franciscan poverty.

The strong earthquakes that shook Umbria in 1832 causing serious damage to the Basilica.

At the end of a long and complex restoration, directed by the architect Luigi Poletti, it was reopened for worship on 8th September 1840.

The facade is radically reworked on a project of Cesare Bazzani, with the intent to confer a monumentality worthy of the importance of the Sanctuary. This was inaugurated on 8 June 1930 and at its top is placed an imposing statue of the Virgin in gilded bronze.

Basilica of Francis in Assisi – Lower and Upper Church

first impression that strikes us in the light entering the square, and especially before you visited the Upper Church, is that of a darkness in which it is difficult to orientate.

The Lower Church presents itself as a serious, powerful, dark building arches crushed and sometimes prone in stark contrast to the Upper Church sleek, spacious, airy, bright. The Lower Church par kneeling to pray at the tomb of the saint, the Superior par songs that soaring skyward. The first invites to meditation, penance and silence, the second expansion and joy.

The two buildings above seems to allude to the double story of human life: first during earthly and painful, then the heavenly and joyful. The union of the two buildings also expresses the concept that the typical Franciscan Perfect joy (Upper Church) can be born only on the sacrifice freely accepted (Lower Church).
The nave of the Lower Church looks like a dark tunnel formed by the mighty ribs of the arches set at eye level. The eye is drawn to the calm brightness of the main altar and the sails of the cruise above it.

The allegorical paintings, recorded in the four triangles of the time, are not mere decoration or ornament pleasant but are things of the Franciscan: are the allegorical figures of holiness to which Francis came in observance of Obedience, Chastity and Poverty.

The subtle systematic treatment and painting reveals that the work was performed under strict and constant supervision of a Franciscan theologian to whom the painter had to obey. Sails are one of the most luminous of the collaboration between the creator of the religious “subject” and the performer secular work of art, according to the customs and traditions of the Middle Ages.

Residence of the Popes

The local host community convent guardian of the Holy Sepulchre are articulated around four cloisters: Cloister Sixtus IV, Cloister of the Dead, Cloister San Gerontius, Cloister of the Immaculate. The perimeter convent houses from the beginning or the Domus Gregorian Papal Palace, built by founder Gregory IX on the north side of the Convent. The Franciscan Sixtus IV moved the residence of the Popes on the southwest side of the building in 1476.

Behind the apse of the Basilica of Francis in Assisi, on the north side of the Cloister greater Sixtus IV (1474)  is the Treasure Museum. It consists of prestigious gifts and liturgical furnishings originally used at the Shrine. The type of museum objects covering masterpieces of oriental silk and gold liturgical, stained glass and panel paintings, medieval pottery, liturgical books illuminated and to music, various sacred furnishings. On the northwest, are the premises of the Library, whose existence is documented since 1265 in a manuscript of Cardinal Caetani (later Boniface VIII). Despite various disturbances, the convent-Municipal Library retains today about a thousand manuscripts, 480 incunabula, 3400 sixteenth and various editions valuable. The famous manuscript 338 with the writings of the saint.

Among the most important in the monastery complex are: the Chapter House or relics, Romanesque Gothic, full of a Crucifixion due to hand Puccio Capanna (ca 1344); the monumental refectory, modified slightly baroque in 1700. On the west wall, a large painting of the Last Supper by Francesco Solimena (1717). Leterali on the walls, in 22 oval medallions, paintings depicting the popes and patrons of the Basilica of the Sacred Convent.
Free from any jurisdiction below that of the Pope, he declared Mater et Caput Order (1230), the Basilica and the adjacent Sacred Convent It is listed first among the settlements Franciscans, in all ancient codes preceding the legal ramifications of the Order took place as from 1517.

Life of Saint Francis in Assisi

  • 1181-82: Francis was born in Assisi to Pietro di Bernardone and his wife Lady“Pica”,in his father’s absence. He was christened Giovanni (John), but when his father came back from his business trip he named him Francis.
  • 1202: There was an open skirmish between Perugia and Assisi. The opposing armies clashed at Collestrada and Perugia won. Francis was one of the Assisi soldiers taken prisoner, and he was held captive in Perugia for about a year.
  • 1204: Francis went through a long illness. Towards the end of the year he decided to go to Apulia to fight under Gualtiero di Brienne, but when he reached Spoleto he had a mysterious vision which made him change his plans and go back to Assisi.
  • 1205: Francis’ twenty-fourth year marked the beginning of his conversion: he renounced his friends and his happy-go-lucky lifestyle; he engaged in a life of intensive prayer; he met and kissed the leper; he saw the Crucifix of San Damiano and heard its voice; he made a pilgrimage to Rome and had his first experience of poverty.
  • 1206: Francis renounced his father’s wealth. He rebuilt the three small churches of San Damiano, San Pietro della Spina and the Porziuncola.
  • 1208: In spring he listened to the Gospel of the votive mass of the Apostles at the Porziuncola, which brought to light his evangelical and apostolic vocation. That same year, the first companions joined him, thus constituting the embryonic core of theFirst Franciscan Order.
  • 1209: Composes a first short rule and with his companions goes to Rome to have the approval of the Pope, which was granted “orally”. It begins with the words: “This is the rule and life of the lesser brothers to live the the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in poverty, chastity and obedience.”
    1210: Forced to leave the stall at Rivotorto, the growing fraternity moves to the Porziuncola through the kindness of the Benedictines.
  • 1212: Chiara, eighteen years old, flees to the Porziuncola, where Francis consecrates her to God by cutting her hair and vesting her in the garb of a consecrated virgin living with in a Benedictine Monastery of Nuns, and after a short time her sister Agnes joins her and thus begins Second Franciscan Order, the Poor Clares. Their first monastery is at the Church of San Damiano. At the end of this year, Francis attempts a missionary journey to Syria but the winds bring him back to Dalmatia and Ancona.
  • 1217: At Pentecost during the first general chapter at the Portiuncula are created 12 Franciscan provinces or districts.
  • 1219: At Pentecost chapter at the Portiuncula, it was decided to send the Franciscans in Germany, France, Hungary, Spain and Morocco. The five that reach Morocco are martyred. Francis himself embarks for Ancona and reaches the Crusaders’ camp at Damietta.
  • 1221: Francesco scrive la Regola detta ‘non bollata’, che viene presentata nel Capitolo di Pentecoste.
  • 1223: Francis, at Fontecolombo draws up the final rule, “regula bullata” which Pope Honorius III approves on November 29 with the Bull, “Solet annuere”. The original rule is kept at the Basilica of St. Francis. At Christmas, with the consent of the Pope, Francis celebrates the Nativity Scene at Greccio.
  • 1224: On September 17, at La Verna, Francis receives the impression of the stigmata.
  • 1225: At San Damiano, Francis composes the Canticle of Brother Sun, also known as Canticle of the Creatures .
  • 1226: On the evening of October 3 at 44, Francis of Assisi dies at the Porziuncola. The next day is brought to Assisi and placed temporarily in San Giorgio, his parish church.
  • 1228: Card. Ugolino, now Pope Gregory IX, on July 16 in Assisi canonizes Francis and the following day, July 17 lays the first stone of the new Basilica in his honor.
  • 1230: May 25: Solemn procession transferring of the body of St. Francis from his parish church of San Giorgio to the new basilica, which Gregory IX, with the Bull “Is qui ecclesiam suam”, had the previous April 22 declared directly under the Roman Pontiff, and “Caput et Mater” (“Head and Mother”) Church of the Order of the Friars Minor.

SUNDAYS AND SOLEMNITIES

  • 7.30 AM Eucharistic Liturgy/Mass (Lower Church – Main Altar)
  • 9.00 AM Eucharistic Liturgy (Upper Church)
  • 9.00 AM Eucharistic Liturgy in English (Lower Church – Main Altar) from Sunday after Easter through October
  • 10.30 AM Eucharistic Liturgy (Upper Church)
  • 12.00 Noon Eucharistic Liturgy (Upper Church)
  • 5.00 PM Eucharistic Liturgy (Lower Church – Main Altar)
  • 6.00 PM Solemn Evening Prayer (Lower Church – Main Altar)
  • 6.30 PM Eucharistic Liturgy (Lower Church – Main Altar)

WEEK DAYS

  • 6.30 AM Office of Readings and Morning Prayer (Lower Church – Main Altar)
  • 7.15 AM Conventual Mass (Lower Church – Main Altar)
  • 9.00 AM Eucharistic Liturgy (Lower Church – Chapel S. Caterina)
  • 11.00 AM Eucharistic Liturgy (Lower Church – Chapel S. Caterina)
  • 6.00 PM Eucharistic Liturgy of the Pilgrim (Lower Church – Main Altar)
  • 7.00 PM Evening Prayer (Lower Church – Main Altar – except on Wednesday)

 

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