The Sacred performance of Ripacandida

The celebrations at Ripacandida are the most recent of the Lucanian Sacred Performances of the Passion of Christ. The Via Crucis involves around a hundred characters who participate in a procession much loved by the citizens. Among the more interesting characters, apart from Christ, we remember the Moor and the Gypsy. The Passion of Christ combines the highest religiosity with very deep popular sentiment which is typical of this part of Lucania, where performances of the Passion are a secular event, in which faith, religion and, in some parts, folklore, create a charming occasion. They are also the object of numerous anthropological studies.

Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo

A town of great interest for its history and landscape, Montescaglioso hosts the splendid 7th-century Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo, considered one of the most significant monuments in Basilicata.
Spread across three floors, with the lower level consisting of rock-hewn cellars, the building rises around the cloister.
On the upper floor, the Abbey is covered
in frescoes, dating from the 16th to the 17th century, including the cycle of pain- tings that decorate the library, depicting saints, philosophers and allegorical figures attributed to Girolamo Todisco. Part of the sculptures of the cloisters and the church were made by Altobello and Aurelio Persio. The church, covered in early-18th-century stuccoes, consists of a single large hall, with four frescoed chapels on each side and a dome bearing the emblem of the monastic congregation “Congregazione Monastica 40 Cassinese”.

Sacred performances during Holy Week

Art and Faith

The drama of the Passion of Christ is performed in the streets and piazzas of Vulture-Melfese where Holy Week is marked by a succession of Sacred Performances. The processions organised in the Lucanian district faithfully reproduce the texts of the holy scriptures and are set in natural surroundings and in some of the characteristic landmarks of the Vulture towns.

The “Preggessione” of Oppido Lucano

Art and Faith

Since 1979 the “Preggessione” has been organised by the Group for Recovery of Local Traditions which, reprising an ancient custom, follows an original script accompanied by musical extracts, specially chosen to reinforce each scene. Around 180 local people take part at 5.30 pm, with a crowded and joyous entrance into Jerusalem. It continues with the other scenes in the central Piazza Guglielmo Marconi: the miracle of the Man Born Blind, The Last Supper, the Conspiracy of the Sanhedrin, the Temptation of Judas and Judas before the Sanhedrin, The Garden of the Olives, Jesus’s Capture, the Trial before the High Priest, the Weeping of Peter, the Trial before Caiaphas, the entrance of the Roman Praetorians followed by the Governor Pontius Pilate on a chariot, the Trial in praetorium before Pontius Pilate, the Trial before Herod, Jesus again with Pontius Pilate and the Flagellation with the desperation of Judas. Jesus, then laden with the Cross, begins the Via Crucis, which winds along the streets of the centre of Oppido Lucano. At the end of the route, there are moving scenes of the Crucifixion and the Deposition. Where: Oppido Lucano (PZ)

The procession of the Mysteries

Art and Faith

On Good Friday, the statues of the Mysteries retrace the stops on the Via Crucis, going through the city at a very slow pace. Among the more evocative statues is that of the Madonna of the Sorrows, followed by others depicting Christ at the Column, Jesus Crucified, Christ Dead and the Pietà. The procession returns late at night and the statues are carried back again to the respective churches. The event, in which the four guilds of Montescaglioso participate, has its origins in the ceremonies of the Passion of Christ from southern Spain. An evocative atmosphere pervades the Chiesa Madre whilst the choir sings “The Lullabies’.

Where: Montescaglioso (MT)

The Sacred performance of Rapolla

Art and Faith

The Crucifixion is staged in the Parco Urbano of the cellar-caves at Rapolla, whilst the procession of the Dead Christ winds along streets illuminated only by the faint light of candles in a beautifully intense atmosphere. The procession which includes pious women, wearing black garments decorated with a violet bow, continuously alternates religious songs with the prayers of the Priests and the faithful. Various stages are arranged on which all the phases of the Passion of Christ are enacted, from the conviction to the Crucifixion. The pious women follow the procession, each one carrying a candle in her hand which enhances the intimacy of the event.
Where: Rapolla (PZ)