Porziuncola

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Description:
Porziuncola, also called Portiuncula (in Latin) or Porzioncula, is a small church located within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in the frazione of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated about from Assisi, Umbria (central Italy). It is the place from where the Franciscan movement started.

The name Porziuncola (meaning “small portion of land”) was first mentioned in a document from 1045, now in the archives of the Cathedral of San Rufino, Assisi.

History

According to a legend, the existence of which can be traced back with certainty only to 1645, the little chapel of Porziuncola was erected under Pope Liberius (352-66) by hermits from the Valley of Josaphat, who had brought thither relics from the grave of the Blessed Virgin. The same legend relates that the chapel passed into the possession of St. Benedict in 516. It was known as Our Lady of the Valley of Josaphat or of the Angels—the latter title referring, according to some, to Our Lady's ascent into heaven accompanied by angels (Assumption B.M.V.); a better founded opinion attributes the name to the singing of angels which had been frequently heard there.

This little church was given around 1208 to St. Francis by the Abbot of St. Benedict of Monte Subasio, on condition of making it the mother house of his religious family. It was in bad condition, lying abandoned in a wood of oak trees. He restored it with his own hands.

After a pilgrimage to Rome, where he begged at the church doors for the poor, he said he...
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