Who Created the First Nativity Scene?

4 Figure Fixed Nativity Set

4 Figure Fixed Nativity Set

The first nativity scene is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 in Greccio, Italy, in an attempt to place the emphasis of Christmas upon the worship of Christ rather than upon secular materialism and gift giving.  The nativity scene created by St. Francis is described by St Bonaventure in his Life of Saint Francis of Assisi written around 1260. Staged in a cave near Greccio, St. Francis’ nativity scene was a living one with humans and animals cast in the Biblical roles. Pope Honorius III gave his blessing to the exhibit. Such pantomimes became hugely popular and spread throughout Christendom. Within a hundred years every church in Italy was expected to have a nativity scene at Christmastime. Eventually, statues replaced human and animal participants, and static scenes grew to elaborate affairs with richly robed figurines placed in intricate landscape settings. Charles III, King of the Two Sicilies, collected such elaborate scenes, and his enthusiasm encouraged others to do the same.

Sources:  Wikipedia

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