Anne's Blog

Assisi’s Evocative Medieval Street Theater

Date: April 26, 2014 - categories: , , , - 4 Comments

On every Good Friday, as day gives up to night, evocative medieval street theater unfolds in the winding backstreets. The dull bounding of a drum (the bells ae “tied” from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday) – battistrangole -accompanies the slow pace of the local people and clergy following hooded, barefoot figures, crowned with thorns and bearing heavy primitive wooden crosses. At times, the priests and nuns sing – in Latin – verses of the Stabat Mater – with the people intoning the responding verses in medieval Italian vulgate.

20090410_5D_MG_0723---Version-5_web

La Processione del Cristo Morto   in Assisi (Thanks to Andrea Angelucci for the photo)

La Processione del Cristo Morto (“Dead Christ Procession”) departs from the Cathedral of San Rufino in upper Assisi and winds its way down to the Basilica di San Francesco through the dark streets of Assisi (no electrical lights allowed anywhere near the processional route).

cristomorto1

Haunting scene in Assisi on Good Friday night.jpeg

The 17th century Baroque statute of a blue robed-Madonna with mournful expression and pierced with seven swords – la Madre Dolorosa (“Sorrowful Mother”) – carried on the backs of cloaked men, grimacing but solemnly, closes the solemnity.

Where is she going?
To find her Son. The Cristo Morto lays on the funeral bier, covered with a black nettinga strewn with fresh flowers, in the Lower Basilica di San Francesco, just above the Tomb of San Francesco, patron saint of all of Italy.
He was carried there that morning in another solemn procession.

He awaits the arrival of His Mother – and both will be carried in procession back to the Cathedral of San Rufino.

If you visit Assisi during any other time of year, you’ll find the two statues there.

But not on Good Friday.

Read about – and see – the morning Good Friday procession
Read about another Assisi area Eastertime tradition
Read more on Holy Saturday traditions

4 Comments

  • Stephanie says:

    Very moving piece, Anne. Thank you so much for sharing another beautiful tradition of Assisi. During my last visit I was able to get a much better feel for the town, so while I read your piece I could envision where the procession was going. Your gift of the written word always makes these pieces come alive in my imagination, you are a true artist!

  • Nancy Caporaso says:

    Wonderful writing; really get a feel for the dark spiritual mystery of the tradition. Thanks again, Anne, for sharing “your” Italy

  • Joan Halperin says:

    Anne, It feels very Ku Klux Klanny! What’s up with that?

  • Anne Robichaud says:

    Joan, the KKK might have copied their garb from medieval confraternity cloaks..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website www.annesitaly.com
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
TYPE OF DATA TREATED
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address anne@annesitaly.com

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)