The Forenza Crucifix is steeped in legends, but perhaps the most incredible one involves “Fra’ Angelo“, a sculptor friar. After completing the body of a statue depicting the dying Christ, “Fra’ Angelo” struggled to sculpt the head, despite numerous attempts.
However, when he uncovered the statue one morning, he discovered that an angel had carved a face identical to the one he had in mind during the night. The miraculous face not only appeared flawless, but also had a unique feature that can still be admired today – Christ’s expression changes according to the viewer’s position.
Observing the statue from the right shows the expression of a deceased Jesus, while the front displays an anguished Jesus, and the left presents a smiling Jesus.
The oral tradition of Forenza contains a nursery rhyme, “Fra’ Angelo met Jesus in a dream, saw him in heaven and sculpted him on earth.”
This saying confirms that the Forenza Crucifix was Fra’ Angelo’s thirteenth and final work, as indicated by other sources.
Another ancient saying reassured the townspeople that the Crucifix protected them from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides.
The Crucifix also played a crucial role in defending the convent and the town during World War II. According to legend, German soldiers attempted to steal the Crucifix from the altar, but an earthquake, limited to the church alone, frightened them so much that they fled the country in a hurry.