Pope Francis defies the Lockdown to pray for an end to the Coronavirus

Is this the Black Plague or the Coronavirus?

A peculiar event happened on Sunday afternoon in Rome’s deserted streets.

Pope Francis walked along the huge artery of Via del Corso, which splits the city center in two.

Once noisy and crowded, at this time deserted and surreally quiet.

The head of the Catholic Church privately left the Vatican to visit Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, adressed a prayer to the Virgin Mary . He moreover  continued towards San Marcello al Corso, walking a few meters along the main street. 

San Marcello hosts the ‘Miracolous Crucifix’, which remained unharmed during a fire that destroyed the church in 1519.
In 1522, after Rome suffered the terrible outburst of the Black Plague, the Crucifix was brought to St. Peters’ Basilica.

Priests, noblemen and common folks attended the holy procession.

The crucifix served as a metaphoric weapon against the Epidemic.

The procession started on 4th of August that year and ended on the 20th, day on which the Plague ended.

Starting from year 1600, a procession brought the Crucifix to St Peters’ every year until the tradition stopped in 2000.

Now, Francis and the people of Rome are indeed turning the clock back. Addressing a prayer to the crucifix, appealing for an end to the recently come Coronavirus epidemic.

In difficult moments, the italians unite and go back to the core of their culture, hungry for arts and music.

The ‘Oratory of the Crucifix’ was founded in 1522.  Its attendants prayed, discussed arts and played music. Famous artist Caravaggio was a regular here

Today, modern Italians obviously do the same, singing from their balconies everyday at 6PM. They hope that music could help them cope with the deafening silence in their streets.

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