The Holy Crucifix of Numana

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According to tradition, the Holy Crucifix comes from the Holy Land and was made by the Evangelist Luke and Saint Nicodemus who, with Joseph of Arimathea, deposed the body of Christ from the cross and buried it. The Crucifix was carved by hand from cedar wood, according to the likeness of Jesus, and once finished, it was kept in the home of a Jew but, shortly afterwards, the work was discovered and damaged: "It is said that he was thrown to the ground and covered with insults and blasphemies, as well as having his chest pierced with repeated blows, from which, miraculously, copious amounts of blood flowed, promptly collected by the astonished persecutors in basins and taken to the Synagogue where it was used to heal the sick, who soon gathered there, and witnesses to the event as well as narrators were Saints Attanasio and John Damascene". This is what is said in the 'Relazione Istorica del Crocifisso di Numana' (Historical Report of the Crucifix of Umana), dating back to 1800 and written by Don Carlo Piergentili, who mentions an ampoule containing the above-mentioned blood, which was kept in Constantinople until 1204 and sent to Venice by Doge Henry after he plundered Constantinople, where it is apparently still kept in the Ducal Church of St Mark.

A fascinating journey brought the simulacrum here: Charlemagne, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, having learned of its prodigious powers, decided to bring it as a gift to Pope Leo III, but a storm during the voyage forced him to seek shelter in the port of Numana and abandon the precious relic in the church of San Giovanni Battista. In the meantime, the Emperor, for urgent diplomatic reasons, was forced to reach Lombardy and then France where he died in 814 AD. After his death, the Crucifix remained in Numana, forgotten by his successors. In 846 AD Numana was devastated by major earthquakes, which destroyed most of the houses and also the Church of San Giovanni, so that the Crucifix was lost at sea. In 1294 some fishermen from Numana found it and, once they had freed it from the debris covering it, they took it to a chapel saved from the earthquake near the town walls, near the present remains of the "Tower", where it remained until 1566.

Because of the decline of Numana, and the prosperity of the nearby castle of Sirolo where pilgrims found hospitality, the Crucifix was called "di Sirolo" while previously, as some documents show, it was called "Crocifisso di Numana".

The local people's dialectal saying is famous:
"Se vai a Lureto e nun vai a Scirolo (If you go to Loreto and not to Sirolo)
vedi la Madre ma nun vedi el Fiolo (you see the mother but not the Son)"
(If you go to Loreto and not to Sirolo, you see the Mother but not the Son) referring precisely to the Crucifix and the Madonna of Loreto. The appearance of the crucifix is that of the triumphant Christ, without a crown of thorns and without a halo, but with a royal crown on his head, Christ the King. It is also a young Jesus without a beard and with a long cloth (perisonium) down to his knees, while the black cross and title (INRI) are of another origin. Today it is kept in the homonymous Sanctuary located in the main square of Numana.

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Numana, portale del turismo
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