Comune

Greccio

Greccio, (Rieti)

Greccio is an old hilltown and comune of the province of Rieti in the Italian region of Lazio, overhanging the Velino river on a spur of the Monti Sabini, a sub-range of the Apennines, about 16 kilometres (10 miles) by road northwest of Rieti, the nearest large town. The actual town of Greccio has been depopulating, and the administrative functions of the comune are now in the frazione of Limiti di Greccio. History The town first is first mentioned as Grecce or Grezze in the 11th century, when it had a castle. The castle has now disappeared except for a single tower, which is now the belfry of the church of S. Michele. Greccio was the place where, in December 1223, St. Francis devised the first living crib (in Italian: presepe). The idea was to discourage would-be pilgrims to go to Bethlehem, as it was a risky adventure, the Holy Land being then under the control of the Turks. The tradition continues there to this day, and a memorial of St. Francis, the Santuario di S. Francesco, may be visited. Saint Francis Francis, recalling a visit he had made years before to Bethlehem, resolved to create the manger he had seen there. The ideal spot was a cave in nearby Greccio. He would find a baby, hay upon which to lay him, an ox and an ass to stand beside the manger. Word went out to the people of the town. At the appointed time they arrived carrying torches and candles. One of the friars began celebrating Mass while Francis himself gave the sermon. His biographer, Thomas of Celano, recalls that Francis stood before the manger, overwhelmed with love and filled with a wonderful happiness. For Francis, the simple celebration was meant to recall the hardships Jesus suffered even as an infant, a savior who chose to become poor for our sake, a truly human Jesus. Twin towns - sister cities Greccio is twinned with: Bethlehem, Palestinian Authority External links The Pro Loco of Greccio References Notes

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