THE SANCTUARY OF ST. GABRIELE AND LORETO
The Sanctuary of St. Gabriele dell’ Addolorata is one of the most visited sanctuaries of the world and counts 2 millions pilgrims a year, that come and honore the Saint, who “worked with heart”, with the uncontrollable devotion for the Madonna and the Crucifix and with the uneasy daily love for religiousness and nature.
In amazing geographical position, set in the Teramo slope of the Gran Sasso, the sanctuary of St. Gabriele is an oasis where the imposing montanious nature meets humility of religious life, and green woods fill the fervent souls of the pilgrims who crow the 2 basilicas of town with peace.
The First Basilica, set in 1216, near a quuiosque dedicated to the Annunziata, restaured in 1590 and then enriched with the beautiful dome and facade of refined polycromia of the XX century. The ancient church, in ancient gothic style, entertains, under the altar of the chappel an urn in gilded bronze, which contains the rests of the saint in a suggestive metallic statue, around which numerous benches welcome the the pilgrims during their prayers and contemplation. In the Basilika there are many freskos, from the painter Ugo Scaramucci, which represent the saint’s life and join his devotion to Immacolata.
The New Sanctuary, inaugurated in 1985 by Pope John Paul II, was projected in Sixties by the scholl Giò Ponti in Milan, its execution job were coordinated by the engineer Rino Rossi of Bologna and completed by the architect Eugenio Abruzzini of Rome. Suggestive mosaics, bronzes and windows are the artwork of the Ugolino of Belluno. An imposing building, which can host crows of 12000 people, born thank to the collaboration of the greatest artist come from whole Italy. The New Sanctuary, whose shape reminds a big ship, symbol of the walking church, extends its arms to the 4 cardinal points. The Basilika is devided into Presbiterio Maggiore, Aura Feriale and ample matronea, modern chappels, and congress rooms and exposition rooms. Enriched by many mosaics and polycrome granits and white marmors, the church joins esthetic taste and functionality with the purpose to marry “tourst routes” and “soul ascensions”.
Sanctuary of Loreto
The sanctuary’s history begins in XIII century, with the arrival of Mary of Nazareth’s house. The precious relic has been brought to Italy after the fall of the reign of the Crociati into the Holy Land and modern studies of stones and grafittis, purifieing tradition of legendary elements and confirm authenticity of the Holy House.
The Sanctuary of Loreto is for centuries one of the most important pilgrim places in catholic world, visited by many popes and over 200 saints, and every year by the nomerous pilgrims who crow its streets.
The Holy House in its orginal shape is composed by only three walls, because the one where today stays the altar was onto the cave’s mouth in Nazareth. The external stones were refined with natabean technic and there are many graffity of Jewish-Christian eve.
The origin of the on wood painted crucifix, over the Angel-window, of the end of the XIII century, is uncertain: the supporters of the first thesis aasigns it to the Spoleto-culture, others wants it to have been realized by Giunta Pisano. The Madonna’s Statue, graven into the wood of a cedar of Libanon, replaces since 1922 the native one which went lost in a fire of 1921. Modeled by Enrico Quattrini and painted by Leopoldo Celani, the statue is covered by the Dalmatica Cloth, following tradition. A marmoreal covering, masterpiece of the Loreto-Art, wanted by Pope Giulio II, drawn by the great architect Donato Bramante and realized by Andrea Sansovino guards the poor House of Nazareth. The niches are enriched by statues of Sybilles and Prophets.
The intern of the Baslika is catachterized by the Dome realized by the artists Giuliano da Maiano and Giuliano da Sangallo. It’s been painted in the XVII century by Pomarancio and restaured at the beginning of the XX century by Cesare Maccari. The Church hosts the Chappel of the Crucifix, graven on wood and given by a brotherhood in the XVIII century; the French Chappel or the Chappel of the Sacrament decorated and painted with the offers of the french catholics; the slavic Chappel or Chappel of Saints Cirillo and Metodio decorated thanks to the contribution of the Croatians, whose trittico was made by Stanislao de Witten; the Chappel of the Assunta or American Chappel, decored with the offers of the american believers of english language of initiative of the Universal Congregation and painted with the imaginary of the Virgo and the history of Human Flight, from Icarus to Leonardo Da Vinci; the Chapel of the Choir or German Chappel, made by Ludwig Seitz for the VI centenary of the Traslazione, with the offers of the German people; the Chappel of the Sacred Heart or Polish Chappel decorated by Arturo Gatti with scenes of polish tradition thanks to the offers of the people; the Chappel of the Dukes of Urbino Guidobaldo II and Francis Maria of the Oak; the Cappel of St. Joseph or Spanish Chappel; the Chappel of Switzerland or of the holy Gioacchino and Ann, with the paintings of Swiss Saints and of the infancy and family life of Maria. Into the two side aisles of the Basilika there are twelve chappels, opened in XVI century by the artist Bramante and later embellished from eighteen-century shovels in mosaic.
The Sacresty of St. Giovanni del Signorelli guards the valuable frescos that represent eight musician center in the dome, the four Evangelist intercaleted by the four Doctors of the Church, five couples of Apostles and the St.Thomas’ unbelieverance with the conversion of Saulus. The St. Marc’s Sacresty, realized by Merlozzo da Forlì, draws onto the dome four angels who bring the symbols of Passion and four Prophets.
The Treasure’s room, realized by Pomarancio, is one of the masterpieces of Roman Manierism, wanted by Pope Clemente VIII, to host the great heap of dedcated gifts left by pilgrims of any social extraction. The treasure was first spoiled by Napoleon, then by thieves in the XX century.
The Square in front of the Basilika s embellished by an artistic fountain in its middle and by a bell-tower drown by Vanvitelli, author of the famous Palace of Caserta, on its left, which entertains eight bells. The Basilika is an abridged edition of late-Gothic and late-Renassaince style. The three bronze portals on the facade were made thanks to an idea of Cardinal Antonio Maria Gallo, in sight of the Jubilee of year 1600. Worked in the foundry Recanati and recently restored from the firm Moggi, the three doors represent biblical subjects to spiritually accompany the pilgrim to the contemplation of the mistery of reincarnation.
On the left side of the church square you perceive the statue devoted to St. Sisto V. In front of the facade of the Basilika there is the Apostolic Building, on two floors, commissioned by Giulio II to Donato Bramante.
To south of the square raises the Illirian Building, a decent construction in tile by Giuseppe Marini, that in the past hosted the Jesuits and and young people coming from Illiria, today is a hostel for pilgrims and trains with sick people.
Manoppello, a small town that lies the Majella to feet, entertains, forgotten for 400 years, the “Veronica“, the veil on which, as the tradition tells, the face of Christ has been engraved. The cloth, anciently preserved on St.Peter, has been examined by the Jesuit and historian of the art Pfeiffer, who’s sure to have identified the original Relic. The Veronica, a veil of cm 17 x 24 cm is guarded in the Church of the Monastery of the Frati Cappuccini in the abruzzain suburb of Manoppello.
For twelve centuries, Lanciano preserved the first and more important “Eucaristic Miracle” of the Catholic church. Such a prodigy happened toward the half of the VIII century d.C., in the Church of S. Legonziano, because of the doubt of a basilian monk of the real presence of Jesus in the eucarestia. During the celebration, after the consecration, the wafer became alive blood clotting itself in 5 irregular and different globules for form and greatness. The flesh-wafer has the greatness of the great wafer today in use in the Latin church, it is light brown and it becomes all rosy, if observed in transparency. Blood has coagulated, of earth color, extending to the yellow-ochre. The Flesh from 1713 is preserved in an artistic silver Ostensory, elegantly chiseled, of Neapolitan school. The Blood is contained in a rich and ancient cruet of Rocca-crystal. The Sanctuary is currently managed by the Frati Conventuali Minori of the Church of San Francesco.
Celestino V in Collemaggio
Back from Lione, where he got the acceptance of the order of the Brothers of the Saint Spirit, Fra’ Pietro da Morrone, in the first months of the year 1275, passes the night in L’Aquila. Legends tell that, in dream, the Virgo Maria commanded him to erect for her a Basilica on the Hill of May. The construction, that constituted a social novelty in a city of recent origins to that time, was long and complex and the church, although completed, has benn consecrated only in 1288 and and the construction of the monastery was still in progress, when Fra’ Pietro da Morrone was crowned pontiff in 1294. In that occasion Celestino V founded the Perdonanza, it means the remission in front of God of the temporal punishment of sins, tied up to particular religious and penitential conditions. The act of the Perdonanza, since then repeats every year from the evening of August 28th to the sunset of 29th, is written in a bead preserved in the town center, which constitutes for the city administrators the occasion to give life to a solemn procession that, departing from Piazza Palazzo, comes up to Collemaggio.
The Feast dedicated to St. Domenico Abate, that’s hold in Cocullo (L’Aquila) on the first Thursdays of May, is known all over the world.
The presence of the snakes gives the fest in honour of the patron saint an aspect between suggestion and devotion.
The ceremony is managed by the lay Brotherhood of St. Domenico and reaches the principal moment with the arrival of the pilgrimage. Every year, on August 21th, the people of Fornelli go in front of the hermitage of St. Domenico Abate near Villalago, repeating a rite, that’s already encoded since the sixteenth century, as attests a documentation of file. The pilgrimage of Fornelli, develops afoot following the line of the Tratturo Magno; and’ organized by the Saint Congregation of St. Domenico.
The departure is characterized by a very suggestive ceremonial: all the pilgrims (around two hundred) wear the scapular one of St. Domenico and supporting themselves on the penitential baton, they set out from Saint Maria a Casale, a small rural church, where a hermit still resides, reciting and singing traditional hymns. All happens into the light of torches, while the pilgrims, preceded by the crucifix and by a little boy that plays a small bell, sing the litanies of the saints.
Of great emotional impact is the arrival to the hermitage of Villalago, where the pilgrims, after having crossed afoot almost eighty kilometers, enter crawling on the knees to the greatest altar, where they kiss the stone.
With great solemnity, the procession goes up to the suburb, where the pilgrims are welcomed by the members of the Brotherhood of Villalago, dressed in festive suit too and bringing the standard and the astile cross.
Ortona – The Cathedral of St. Thomas
Abruzzo boasts many ancient sanctuaries, whose presence constitutes a point of reference of the local devotion. A special mention is up to the big cathedral of Ortona that boasts the privilege to preserve the bones of St. Thomas Apostle, arrived September 6th 1258 as loot of war, conquered by the captain Leone degli Acciaiuoli in the looting of the island of Scio. Then, the Cathedral had increased so much to become one of the most famous Gothic monuments of the region and was partly ruined under the terrible bombardment that hit Ortona in 1943. From the ancient shines sill stay the rich portal of Nicola Mancino (1311) the ancient door on the left side, the famous big bell of 1588, a gothic Pity of the XV century. The bare St. Thomas are preserved in the crypt, into a graven sarcophagus (VI century). Ortona devotes two feasts to the apostle: one September 6th and another, greater, of the Pardon, the Ith Sunday of May, to which is tied up the privilege of the complete indulgence. In that occasion, solemnized by the magnificent historical Procession of the Keys, Thousand of pilgrims come to Ortona.
Bucchianico – St. Camillo de Lellis
Tales tell that, when he was young Camillo de Lellis had an imposing stature and gait that siuted well to a man trained to the military life. He was born in Bucchianico the 25th May 1550 from Camilla Caselli, an aristocrat, already ahead in the years, and from Giovanni, captain on service of the D’Avalos in the Frank-Spanish war, after the death of his mother, when he was still a teen-ager, he followed his father in the various enlistments. In 1570 he wanted to participate in the crusade against the Turks announced from Venice, but after the death of his father he abdicated the idea. Meanwhile a wound to the ankle made its state of health more and more precarious and the young boy asked for help into the hospital of St. Giacomo of the Incurable in Rome, where he stood for a few time as attendant.
Taken back the military life he was to sold of the Venetians and the Spaniards. You tell that to the epoch it had a quarrelsome character and a great passion for game, and that one day in Naples he lost both weapons and mantle. In memory of that episode, later, on the place where the fact happened, a tabernacle was erected and mothers went there for estranging their children from the vice of bets. After that, he made humble works in the Franciscan convent of Manfredonia and he wanted to take the orders in the Convent of Trivento but the sore on his ankle and this thing forced him to mend for a second time to the Incurable of Rome.
Recovered, he remained in the hospitalas a valet before and then of administrator up to 1582. In this period St. Filippo Neri knew became his confessor.
Struck by the state of miserable and of abandonment that often accompanies the sufferings of sick people he decided, with five companions, to devote himself to their material and spiritual assistance. He was ordered priest the 26th May 1583 and a few months later he gave origin to the order of the Clergymen Regular Ministers of the Patients approved by Sisto V on March 18th 1586. Soon, while St. Camillo de Lellis lent his work in Saint Spirit of Sassia, ancient Roman house of the Hospital-ones, its order spread in whole Italy.
In 1607, weakened by illnesses, he left the direction of the Company but hold on to serve the poor and the sick men up to the death, that gathered him on July 14th 1614 in the oratory of the Maddalena. He was buried in Rome and canonized in 1746. In Bucchianico you revere the relic of its heart.