Yes, Christ dashes in Bevagna on Easter Sunday – quite literally.
That is, the Cristo risorto (“Risen Christ”), Bevagna’s treasured 16th-century statue.
Every Easter Sunday morning, members of the Confraternita della Misericordia (the Confraternity of Mercy or Compassion) – a lay brotherhood initiated in Bevagna in the 18th century – in tunics and purple capes, carry the statue from the small 18th-century church of the confraternity, Santa Maria della Consolazione, down the main street of Bevagna to the central piazza.
On that piazza, Piazza Filippo Silvestri, Easter Mass is taking place inside the 12th-century Romanesque church, San Michele Arcangelo…
The faithful inside are awaiting in anxious anticipation as they pray.
At the start of the Mass, the local Scouts had roped off the main aisle which must always stay clear of people for the culminating event of the Mass at the Gloria.
A heavy purple curtain had been put over the door and a man stood high on a ladder next to it, rope in his hand. In the doorway, the Cristo risorto stood – hand upraised in victory (over death) – but not yet visible to the faithful.
During the Kyrie Eleison prayers, all eyes shifted from the altar to the purple curtain hanging at the back of the church. As the priest intoned with elation in a booming voice, Gloria in excelsis Deo, the guardian of the curtain, leapt off the ladder, pulling the rope…almost like a bell-ringer. But his pull did not cause bells to toll: it splayed opened the curtain.
And the Cristo risorto dashed in at a run, to an enthusiastic burst of applause from all the faithful. La Resurrezione for the bevanati.
Bevagna friend Claudia told me that a perfect run is auspicious for them and the confraternity brothers carrying the Christ know this and seek to hold Him erect. Claudia told me that the run of the Cristo risorto is “something we have lived since we were children, an annual rite, passed on generation-to-generation. This repetitive cycle is our security, for a town is represented by its history, its rites, which link us as a community. And these rites give force each of us.”
The Cristo risorto will remain near the altar in the Church of San Michele Arcangelo until the Ascension, forty days after Easter before returning home to the Church of Santa Maria Consolazione.
Visits to Him will be frequent.
**Mille grazie to Luigi Frappi for his black and white photos. Thanks, too, to Stefano Preda for his nighttime photo of Piazza Filippo Silvestri.
See the dash of Bevagna’s Cristo risorto here
Click here to see the leap from the ladder and the run of the Cristo morto.
Read about the Good Friday nighttime procession in Assisi
Read about the Good Friday morning procession to the cloistered Clarisse
Read about the San Quirico Clarisse hiding Jewish refugees in World War II
Click here to read about – and see! – the Holy Thursday scavigliazione ceremony
Click here to see Andrea Cova’s moving photos of Assisi’s Holy Thursday and Good Friday
Read about Good Friday in Gubbio
Click here to read about the Good Friday Passion play of the small town of Fiamenga.