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New Crucifix for Cambridge University Chaplaincy
posted on 18 November 2008
Crucifix on display at Fisher House
Crucifix on display at Fisher House

The Crucifix which is over 2 metres tall and 1.70 metres wide was blessed by Cardinal Cormac during the 11.15am Mass on Sunday 16th November 2008. The Mass, which was said in the Hall of Fisher House was attended by over 400 students.

The Crucifix is a replica of the work by Cenni di Pepo Cimabue (c. 1240 - c. 1302) that is housed in the Church of San Domenico in Arezzo. It was commissioned from the Hamilton Kerr Institute, which is part of the Fitzwilliam Museum and the History of Art Faculty of the University.

Artist Lara Broecke, who painted the crucifix said: It was a gift of a job; it has been lovely to work on it. It took about a year and a half. I am a conservator painter and so most of my work is restoring old paintings, but I enjoy reconstructions and it is rare to get to do them and especially to do it on such a large scale. Often in training one gets the chance to use old techniques and materials, but only for a term or on small pieces. It was wonderful to do this from start to finish using those techniques and materials. In order to find out about how the original crucifix would have been painted I used a treatise written in the 1400s by Cennino Cennini who was a painter and wrote about craft techniques. As a result of work on the crucifix I am now involved in a re-translation of this treatise as I found that there were gaps in the translation and we now have so much more knowledge. I will be using the crucifix to illustrate my findings

During his homily Cardinal Cormac said: Now is a wonderful time to be a Christian; we are called to bear witness today more than ever. It is my hope and intention for this Mass that you do not hide your talents that are gifts but use them in the world today. We have to take the risk of being Christian, like the man in the gospel; it is only when you take the risk of being Christian, using your talents that they multiply.

Fr Alban McCoy, Chaplain at Fisher House said: 'It's always a pleasure and a great honour to welcome the Cardinal to Fisher House. He was the chief patron of our recent highly successful Appeal and the new crucifix is the beginning of our next project to convert the Hall into a more fitting liturgical space. We're particularly pleased that the Cardinal was able to come to Cambridge to bless it for us.'

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