The San Damiano Cross is the large Romanesque rood cross before which St. Francis of Assisi was praying when he is said to have received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original now hangs in the Basilica of Saint Clare in Assisi, Italy, with a replica in its original position in the church of San Damiano nearby. Franciscans cherish this cross as the symbol of their mission from God.
The cross is a crucifix of a type sometimes called an icon cross because in addition to the main figure of the Christ, it contains images of other saints and people related to the incident of Christ’s crucifixion. The tradition of such painted crucifixes began in the Eastern Church and possibly reached Italy via Montenegro and Croatia.