rituals, Ceremonial and Gestures

Written by Michele Montaruli (Ex-Purification Prior Brotherhood of Sorrows)

Sebastiano Ursi Photo

A vital role in the care and spread of the cult of the Passion of Christ They have had and continue to have still the brotherhoods today rubastine. A significant element of differentiation allows, however, to specifically characterize the experience ruvese within a broader context that unites almost all Apulian associations.

As rightly said Di Palo * (F. Palo - Stabat Mater Dolorosa- once. 249) "Ruvo Holy Week, with solemn processional marches, represents the culmination of a participatory ceremonial that has seen players on members of the lay associations since Ash Wednesday .... "... .." the central moments of spirituality and aggregation during Lent are made up of 'adoration of the Cross functions that take place in in turn he asked confraternity ".
Interestingly, the very perpetuation of such Pio Exercise, represents one of the balances of connecting links that link the present life of the four associations citizens, with the ascetic and penitential practices introduced by the seventeenth and eighteenth century statutes.
A 'careful comparative analysis of the rules of the four associations, It may be extremely useful for understanding the common origin of this Pio Exercise. The thrust of the Council fathers Counter, He had certainly stamped imprint precise to 'evangelizing action of all those religious orders ( Jesuits, Vincentians, Redemptorists) engaged in so-called "recapture of down here Indie", ie those most marginalized areas of southern Italy. A huge wave of popular missions spread in our south, Catholic orthodoxy in order to recover all those layers of society, that because of a persistent illiteracy, They were still tied to magical practices and syncretisms. Nell 'area of ​​missionary techniques, or rather in the broader context of "strategic" theorized and used by missionary fathers, It assumed a particular importance the need to instill terror for sin and the essential salvific work of repentance which necessarily had to go through displays of self-mortification.
The Jesuit founding congregations, strongly resented this imprint, especially in inspired all 'economy rules, that is the prototype of the Society of Jesus, In fact, the statutes confraternal prescribed for all the associates participation in some penitential rites to be held in very specific days of the week during the period of Lent.
A Ruvo di Puglia, during Lent, brotherhoods still come together as a community for the adoration of the Cross , that take place in the four churches confraternal, according to a precise and invariable shift system that has its own origins in the seventeenth and eighteenth-century rules of the four associations; Every Wednesday the pious exercise held in the Carmelite church as required by the statutes of the seventeenth century 'Confraternity,for the same reason, Every Tuesday the rite takes place in the church of the Purgatory, while the four Fridays are equally divided, and with perfect alternation, between the San Rocco and the brotherhood of Sorrows-Purification. What is relevant here to emphasize, They are entering the church brotherhoods and the position occupied by them in the temple.
The host brotherhood,according to a precise customary,must wait already in the church for the arrival of other associations. On the outside meantime, administrators of other brotherhoods, await the arrival of their members. After he had gathered a large number of brothers, The Prior of the oldest confraternity among those present in the churchyard, He is approaching the front door of the church and decurion-ceremonies frat "host", equipped with acquasantiera and aspersorio, recalls with particular attention hiss of the prior of "home", which immediately will jingle a bell specially positioned on his desk. At the sound of the bell, all the brothers in the church stand while the prior and other associates of the incoming brotherhood, after being marked with a cross mark from an internal 'holy water which first, take place in the temple; only this time the host prior will tinkle the bell again to indicate that all can sit. The same ceremonial, repeats slavishly also for the other two brotherhoods that after waiting their turn, will the church entrance. Only when all four associations will be present at church, The Prior of the Brotherhood will host again jingled the bell to signal the entrance of the celebrant on 'altar.
But what position they occupied the brotherhoods, meantime, in church ? Here nothing is left to chance or improvisation , I said it just now , that each fraternity will occupy in the church a well pre-set position, closely linked to two factors : seniority of foundation and prestige on the one hand, the other duties of hospitality. First we imagine to divide the counters present in the nave in four sectors of the same dimensions (see fig. A) ,
The number of banks that make up each sector , It will vary according to the size of the temple. Let's move on then to numbering the various sectors according to a real pecking order (see fig. A), the most prestigious positions are certainly those of the two right sectors (looking at the altar), follow in the order the two sectors on the left.
A careful observer will not escape all notice the host positioned brotherhood Always in the number field 4, as if for a noble gesture of hospitality, It is forced to give the most "prestigious" positions to the other brotherhoods, often slipping so to speak in the "most uncomfortable". Similarly it is not difficult to notice that the place, SeaMonkey, Honor is the number field 1, in fact it will always be occupied by the oldest fraternity or rather most prestigious , in this case the 'Confraternity of Carmine, that will sell to that of Purgatory, even though for a duty of hospitality it will be forced to occupy the number field 4, as the ceremony takes place in the Carmelite church. In accordance with the order of seniority and prestige, the number field 2 It will always be occupied by the brotherhood of purgatory (1678)except in two cases , first when the ceremony takes place in the church's confraternity (position number 4) And when unfolding the 'Adoration of the Cross in the Carmelite church , will occupy the number field 1 vacated by the latter as the host frat. Then follow the traditional order of precedence of San Rocco and the brotherhood of Sorrows-Purification, they can never occupy the number field 1 and it will always be forbidden areas 1 e 2 , while the San Rocco confraternity will be the ability to occupy the number field 2, but only when the sector will remain, in the two previous cases, It will be vacated by the Brotherhood of Purgatory. For the association of Purification Addolorata(to be the one of more recent foundation 1777), there will be no chance to occupy the right areas , but always we are on the left in the third sector, or in the fourth for a duty of hospitality.
Rituals 'and gestures'
The modalities of the rite, They have undergone some major changes over the centuries, First they are long gone corporal mortifications cars that accompanied the kiss of the crucifix in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Also participating was also extended to her sisters and to the simple faithful (once firmly precluded) ,the elderly still remember the figure "gruff" the decurion-porter which regulated the entrance to the church allowing it only to men enrolled in associations. Until the Second Vatican Council kiss the crucifix was preceded by meditation on the sufferings of Christ and the Madonna, by the recitation of the 'Office of Darkness or of Coronella 5 wounds of Christ, but today, most of the time, The ritual is preceded by the celebration of the Eucharist at the end of which the settlers of the host fraternity placed a crucifix on a pedestal at the foot more and then the celebrant will turn first to the veneration of the cross, then the prior of brotherhood "host" will jangle the bell again placed on her desk, to show that everyone can sit down and wait your turn. Subsequently, the decurion-ceremonies of the host fraternity will to invite the frat positioned in the sector number 1(see figure A) to proceed to the veneration of the crucifix and the same ceremonial it will be followed also for the other 3 brotherhoods proceed to kiss the crucifix only after receiving the invitation from decurion-ceremonies. Each brotherhood, therefore, venerate the crucifix respecting their turn, also the brothers and sisters, always preceded by the prior with the two assistants, proceed along the corridor at the center of the aisle in pairs and never in a row and each pair clamped perform three stops along the aisle before reaching before the crucifix and only at this point, after making a sign of reverence , bowing his head, proceed to kiss the crucifix, Also in this case respecting a precise order, before the brother or sister on the right and then the brother or sister on the left. Until the 1987 the three stops along the central nave were made in knee (heritage of those practices self corporal mortification mentioned at the beginning) and also the crucifix was positioned lying on the ground and not positioned on the pedestal, and then also the kiss had to be carried out on his knees. Only the the end of this articulated and cured ceremonial , the spiritual Father celebrant will proceed to the final blessing using the same crucified, and only then all the brothers and sisters participants can leave the temple, while the prior host with two assistants must first saluatre with a gesture of fraternal courtesy priors and assistants of the other three associations.

Video Adoration of the Cross

Made in 2009 Sebastiano Ursi and Leonardo Bees – Archive Sebastiano Ursi