Saint Nicholas of Tolentine and the Frescoes

Saint Nicholas of Tolentine and the Frescoes


Where we are right now used to be, by Nicholas’ time, the church. From the 1100s. But, of course, without any of this decoration of frescoes that we see right now. By time of Nicholas, the church was dedicated to Saint George, and this area that today belongs to the city, by that time was countryside, so it was completely outside from the city, and they were hermits. He’s saying that the friars, who lived there were Brettinesi, were the ones that join the other ones. They formed the Augustinians. They were different congregations of the order following the rule of Saint Augustine, and the Pope brought them all together which we call the Grand Union. So, this belonged to one of those congregation. When Nicholas died, he was immediately put here in the center of the church where today we have this. But by that time, his casket was made of wood, and there were some holes, like for instance, the one that you can see, of course, this is not the original from that time, but just to say that people could touch the tip of Saint Nicholas, and people started to saying that they receive graces coming here praying to Saint Nicholas for the intercession of Saint Nicholas. As you probably remember, Nicholas died in 1305. 40 years later, some people entered here in the church, and they stole the bones of the arms of Saint Nicholas. He’s saying that this was very common during that time. The ones that stole the bones of the arms of Saint Nicholas, then happens the miracle, because from the bones, comes out blood, and they got fear of that, so they decided to return here to the church and give back the bones of Saint Nicholas. It’s because all of this that they have decided to bury the Saint Nicholas body but without the arms that have been stolen. Do you remember I told you downstairs that they have silver in the areas around his arms? So, it was because of this. They buried the body of Saint Nicholas. And finally when the ones that had returned the stolen arms, they decided to do the reliquaries that we saw with silver and they’re used to be next to the church, so people could see those. That’s why we have those from the 1300s. It was only the 1900s when they decided to come out with the body again, so it was when they decided to do the crypt where today we have the body, and where today we can see also the silver, and the reliquaries of Saint Nicholas that we saw today. I have a question. You told us that Saint Nicholas is one of Saint Rita’s favorite Patron Saints. Yes. She has three. Could you ask him why? It might be because he was the first one who became a Saint in the Augustinian order, -Officially Augustinian Saint./ -Yeah. Even during her life that he was the first one, so it could be because of that or also because being not far away from her. And also because he was so famous. He was so famous also during the time of Rita so everyone here in the region, they used to come here to pray to Saint Nicholas, so he was very famous during the life of Saint Rita. – So it means that she came to this part of the country?
– I don’t think so. The only thing we know is Rita went to Rome to see the canonization of Saint Nicholas. He’s saying about Saint Clare of Montefalco that we will visit in a few days. She lived during the same time of Saint Nicholas, but they never met each other. And one important connection between Saint Rita and him was the Augustinian life. That’s why we’re sure the Augustinian friars and sisters there that we’re connected to any Augustinians particularly this one, because he was recently canonized, so he was the first in our order to be officially canonized. In here, in this lower part, we have Nicholas’ story. It starts right here. What represents here is the parents of Saint Nicholas. As I’ve said to you on the bus, they were childless, and they had this desire to have a son. It represents when they went to the Shrine of Saint Nicholas of Bari. Here represents Saint Nicholas, and you see some of a little bit of fiction about Saint Nicholas going to the school, and the teacher was Saint Augustine. He was listening to the preaching of the Augustinian friar, and he was calling people and saying to them, “He’s looking for you. God is calling you for this religious life.” So he started to learn a lot about Saint Augustine’s life. What they’re doing is to compare Saint Augustine’s life with Saint Nicholas’ life, so if you remember that Saint Augustine decided to go back to Africa, and in his case, they compare it to when he finally entered to the Augustinian Order. Again, the comparison with Giotto and how we can see even he didn’t work here, but his work was full with the hands, bigger hands, and also this part that comes out from the wall. This, let’s say, is the Giotto’s signature even this was his student’s. Here he is receiving this crown from angel. It was like to say giving him a prize for all the people he helped too. He is calling us to look carefully at the face of Saint Nicholas. How beautiful it is because we’re speaking about 700 years ago. Here is the scene when Saint Nicholas died. Again, as I have said there, Saint Nicholas died, and then we have the representation of the baby saying he went to heaven. About the light that we spoke earlier in the crypt, so it’s also represents here, the miracle. We have to imagine there were the guards here. Many people outside, trying to come inside and see Saint Nicholas’ body, and while they were waiting outside, it was the moment that finally they saw this light for the very first time. This light that Saint Nicholas saw for the last three years of his life. We have some miracles of Saint Nicholas. This represents a woman. She was married, and she was really sick. And people decided to bring her here to stay close and touch Saint Nicholas’ tomb. And without any explanation, she’s healed. Here, for instance, what represents: she was born blind. She couldn’t see and again, she came here, and the miracle just happened. She could see. This man was kidnapped, and the relatives prayed to Saint Nicholas. And while the people who kidnapped him were sleeping, He was able to escape. Here represents a storm, and the sailors and the navigators started to pray to Saint Nicholas, and they were saved. What represents here is a convict of the death penalty, and he didn’t do anything wrong. He was innocent. And again, he prayed to Saint Nicholas, and he was saved. What represents here is to review all of these. What means? Several people here that were saved, healed, and what they’re trying to say is Jesus did all those miracles during his life, and Saints, because they have strong faith, they could do like Jesus. Just another interpretation of this fresco is if you look at the building, it represents the church. And people inside. They are with disease. They represent evil. They are our sins. So what represents at the same time is we have sins, but if we attend the church, we will be saved. All the sacraments are the drugs that we’re all saved.

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