Other Chronicles and References - 596 

In an earlier treatise, dating from the early 1230’s, “Against the Errors of the Albigensians,” Luke mentions the Stigmata of Francis in the context of refuting “the errors of those who believe there were only three nails fixed in the hands and feet of the Savior.” This work, which cites Thomas of Celano’s The Life of Saint Francis, is a testimony to the rapid diffusion of that work.a

As is found in his holy legenda and in the witness of many religious, clerics, lay people, and seculars who merited to see them five years ago with their bodily eyes, and to touch them with their hands, pious testimony is set forth that in the hands and feet of blessed Francis four marks of nails appeared in this soldier of Christ. These demonstrated his perfect victory over the struggle of the world and that by the sign of the four nails of our Lord’s Passion he was a imitator of his King, Jesus Christ. Passages are found in his legenda, that after a certain beatific vision of a crucified Seraph, “the marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet.”

Roger of Wendover (c.1225-35)

The monastery of Saint Albans, one of the largest and best endowed abbeys of England, was noted for a series of able chroniclers, the most distinguished of whom was certainly Matthew Paris, whose detailed Chronica majora was composed between 1236 and his death in 1259. However, Matthew’s famous work is actually a revised edition and continuation of the Flores historiarum of his predecessor as chronicler at Saint Albans, Roger of Wendover, who died in May, 1236. When composing his own annals, Matthew simply incorporated Roger’s, offering a number of improvements.b Thus the records for the years prior to 1236 are largely Roger’s work.

Knowledge of Roger is extremely scanty; for some time he was prior of the dependent house of Belvoir. He apparently began composing his chronicle around 1217, but was working on revisions until the end of his life. The first entry cited below, under the year 1207, was undoubtedly composed after the arrival of the brothers in England (1224).c Roger’s chronicle offers a striking testimony of how Francis had become a religious “celebrity” only a few years after his death. Roger does not betray the same strong prejudice against the




Testimonia minora, Testimonia minora, p. 92-93

Luke of Túy (1231–34)21

Ut in eius sacra reperitur legenda et multorum religiosorum, clericorum, laicorum et saecularium, qui manibus contrectare meruerunt vel corporis oculis ante quinquennium aspexerunt, pium perhibet testimonium, in manibus et pedibus beati Francisci quatuor apparuerunt signa clavorum in Christi milite, demonstrantes perfectam de luctamine mundi victoriam et sui Regis Iesu Christi sequelam existere signo quatuor clavorum dominicae Passionis. Scriptum quippe reperitur in eius legenda, quod post quandam crucifixi Seraphim beatificam visionem «coeperunt in manibus et pedibus eius apparere signa clavorum.»

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 596