Tag Archives: Hermitage of the Holy Cross

At Rome, it is the Feast of St. Alexis, the poor man of God

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In 1965, there was discovered in a nook at the foot of the bell-tower of the Basilica of St. Alexis at Rome, one of the best preserved medieval Catholic frescoes ever seen at the time. Years later, two intrepid art-historians found mention of it in literature, tracked it down, and with the help of the Italian government undertook a restoration (see featured image).

The image depicts the Patron Saint of the Basilica standing to the left of Christ the Lord, Himself depicted as a pilgrim to Rome.

What most Catholics do not know, is that the figure of St. Alexis played an important role in the devotion of Medieval Catholics at Rome, before Saint Francis of Assisi, came on the scene. If in the year 1200 A. D., you had asked any Catholic who was the “poor man of Christ”, who gave up everything for love of Him and lived in the most abject poverty, all would have responded, “St. Alexis”.

Pope Honorius III, who approved the Rule of Saint Francis, was very devoted to this Saint. In fact, several years before he had ever cast eyes on St. Francis, he had ordered the restoration of the Saint’s basilica on the Aventine. Perhaps this was because Honorious was elected in a Conclave on the very feast day of the Saint in 1216 A. D., the day after the sudden demise of the great Pope Innocent III (Lothar of Segni) had passed. Saint Francis himself was canonized on the vigil of St. Alexis, in the year 1228 A. D., by Pope Gregory IX.

Here is the website of the Basilica:

This new website contains many photos and videos, not previously published, under the tab, “HOME”.

You can read more about the discovery and restoration of this fresco of St. Alexis and Christ here, in an article containing many photos and a video by ANSA.

I told the story of St. Alexis, here, in 2021 and 2022, where I also shared the beautiful image of the Patroness of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, where I live: the Icon of Our Lady, before which I have for nearly 20 years asked the grace to find a place as a hermitage. — I named Her patroness, because in this place from which I am now writing, when I visited to look it over as a possible rental, I found no other image, but a holy card depicting this icon.

And AJ and I did a program on what this Saint’s example teaches about true Christian courtship, here, in 2020.

Be assured of my prayers to Our Lady of St. Alexis and my patron Saint, since without a doubt all of you are also part of the answer to my 18 year long novena!