Faith’s Great Meeting: Christian St. Francis and Muslim Sultan Melek
Through Bonaventura Legend and art masterpieces
Assisi Friar’s story in Holy Land…
With ordeal of fire he conquered Sultan
who then left part of Jerusalem to Christians
by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
with text of Saint Bonaventura
«In 1219 St. Francis finally fulfilled his ardent desire: to preach the Christian faith to Muslims. This event is narrated in the ninth chapter of the Legenda Maior, where Bonaventura talks about the charity that prompted Francis to want to announce the Gospel to all men, and the attraction that the saint felt before the possibility of martyrdom. The function of this episode is in fact to associate Francis with the highest degree of Christian holiness, that of the martyrs, demonstrating the complete willingness of the Little Poor to die for Christ. Reaching the Crusader army in Acri and then in Damiata, Francesco obtained from the papal legate that he could go, at his risk and responsibility, to the Muslim prince, Sultan Melek-el-Kamel».
Monsignor Timothy Verdon, canon of the Cathedral of Florence, Director of the Office of Sacred Art and Heritage at Cultural Archdiocese of Florence, is one of the greatest living experts in the history of Christian art.
With the sentences above this authoritative Catholic historian explains briefly the spiritual motive of the journey that the Patron of Italy wanted to make in the Holy Land across Syria and Egypt…