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Lampedusa Cross now in British Museum

When an overcrowded immigrant boat capsized just off the coast of Lampedusa and killed hundreds of people, island carpenter Francesco Tuccio met some of the survivors in his local church. Some of the survivors were Eritrean Christians fleeing from persecution in their home country. Though unable to help them in a concrete way, he collected wood from their boat and made each of them a cross as a symbol of hope.

The carpenter also made a cross for Pope Francis to carry at a memorial service held on the island. It was Pope' Francis's first trip outside of the Vatican after having been elected pope.. Tuccio also made the altar that the Pope celebrated mass on out of an immigrants' broken boat to Europe.
As one of his last official acts, outgoing British Museum director Neil MacGregor commissioned the cross as his final acquisition before stepping down. Commission may not be the right word since Tuccio did not get paid but donated the cross he made for the museum.
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