Christus patiens | 2005

Details of the work:

Work type: Installation
Year: 2005
Technique: 5 colors color enamel on engraved brass plate with gold plating in pure gold
Dimensions: 186 cm x 186 cm
Church of the Holy Spirit of the Neapolitans, Rome – Italy

Christus Patiens


Critical text:

“My crucified Love” is an expression dear to Blessed Anna Rosa Gattorno, the Foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Anne who thus expresses her inner world very well.
Always, as a child, when I enter the church, I look for the Crucifix. I would like it to be great, with the great pierced arms that visibly embrace the whole community gathered to celebrate the Eucharist or to pray.

It was like that to my little village, in the immense church: a great Crucifix dominated the only bright nave. I did not hear that Jesus nailed to the cross; He was next to me as a friend and I fell in love with him.

I too would like to call him with Blessed Anna Rosa “my crucified Love”.
When in 1983 I was appointed Rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit of the Neapolitans in Via Giulia in Rome, I found a deserted and almost abandoned temple. I immediately began to work for the restoration of the place of worship that had been closed for more than thirty years.
How much commitment, how much communion, how much generosity I have experienced, touching the divine Providence that has continued to be generously present and has allowed me to complete a wonderful restoration. But to my church, reopened to the cult in 1986, the Crucifix that I dreamed was missing: the image of He who gave his life to save us, had to be dragging, had to say His word:

“When I am lifted up from the ground, I will all draw to myself”.

Many years ago I remember reading a book called “The Broken Christ”. He told of a priest who prayed every day before his Crucifix, immense in his small church, a white plastered Christ, but full of tenderness so as to seem alive.

The priest’s daily prayer was that of Jesus, addressed to the Father on the evening of the last supper: “May all be one as you Father in me and I in you”. He prayed for the union of Christians so that the Christian Churches would finally be one fold under one shepherd. A passionate supplication his: Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and Anglicans all united, in the only fold with the only shepherd. But one morning that priest, entering the church to repeat his prayer, found that the carved image of Jesus had fallen to the floor and had broken. He approached the broken Christ and believed to find there the concrete expression of division among Christians.

Christus Patiens

His prayer became weeping. He knelt down, heartbroken and defeated. He only looked at his broken Christ. He looked, he looked …
Suddenly the priest began to “see”: the limbs were broken, the body had shattered, but the veins and arteries continued to communicate life, the blood flow was not interrupted. He thought he was dreaming … His broken Christ had given him an answer: do not ever give up, my priest, continue your prayer; I am the communion.
St. Vincent Pallotti, a Roman priest, was Rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit of the Neapolitans from 1835 to 1846. In the Church of Via Giulia he began in 1836 the Octave of the Epiphany, eight days of prayer for Christian Unity . A plaque recently placed on the right side of the Presbytery remembers it. The temple is now restored: splendid windows by Master Oscar Guarnieri, gift of a benefactor, remember the great Jubilee of 2000, with the image of Our Lady of Czestokowa, the embrace of Pope John Paul II to Cardinal Wyszynski, Primate of Poland at the beginning of the Pontificate and the tender face of a girl, Maria Chiara, between a flight of angels and doves.
There was still no dreamed Crucifix that could express what I tried to tell in these lines: the daily growth of hope, the thickness of incessant supplication for the unity of Christians, which in this temple was born from the great heart of St. Vincent Pallotti
One evening, meeting some people, I told them the story of the Crucifix, of how I wanted it. I added that he had to express the pain of division and at the same time portray the path of unity among Christians: a broken body, but visibly united.
I did not know that among the people I met that evening there was an artist: Antonio Nocera. He was enthusiastic and made my wish his own: after a few days he presented me his project. His enthusiasm became mine.
The precious panels that together form the Body of the Lord make evident the “ut omnes unum sint”; I would like these to be a readable reference to a silenced truth that today is the object of reflection and debate: the Christian roots of Europe. The panels could represent the countries of the European Community …
At the base of the great cross there is a stone from Calvary donated by the Franciscan Fathers of the Custody of the Holy Land. It is the silent witness of the Passion of the Lord.
“They will speak the stones” said Jesus. And this stone speaks. It speaks to Italy and to the countries of the European Community.
The Crucifix has taken root in Europe. Europe has its roots and these are Christian. “O Lord Jesus, my crucified love, bless this Europe and let it not forget”.

Mons. Natalino Zagotto

Christus Patiens

disegnato con da Michele Visconti