Since 1886, an ancient cult is repeated every year at Fumone with the participation of the entire population: the Madonna of Perpetual Relief, an original name for a Madonna in the ‘rescue’ (help) position of her child.
Fumone is a beautiful medieval village all encircled within a masonry circuit in whose center is a castle with the highest hanging gardens in Europe.
The beginning of the cult dates back to 1886 when the archpriest Don Vincenzo De Carolis made a copy of a venerated icon in the church of Sant’Alfonso Maria de ‘Liguori on the Esquiline hill in the center of Rome.
The original icon is painted on a mixed technique on a walnut tablet of dimensions 53 x 41 cm and represents the so-called “Madonna della Passione” dating back to the last quarter of the 15th century. This icon comes from the elaborations of the Cretan painter Andreas Ritzos, lived between 1421 and 1492).
The prototype that the icon of Rome was inspired was traced to a fresco of the Lagoudera church on the island of Cyprus, dating back to 1192. The Virgin supports the Son with his left arm, who, curled to her , Looks to the archangel Gabriel, in smaller dimensions, showing the cross.
In the painting, Archangel Michael brings with him the instruments of the “Passion” that seem to scare the Child who asks “rescue” to the Mother by taking refuge in his arms. The Virgin offers her son protection and, figuratively, all the faithful who observe her.
Fumone’s icon was triumphantly received by the people and ‘thrusted’ into the Collegiate of SS. Mary Annunziata in a particular chapel dedicated to SS. Sacramento in 1886.
It is still celebrated every first Sunday of September when the picture is housed in its golden wooden throne adorned with angels and brought to a solemn procession along the streets of the ancient village.
That of Our Lady of Perpetual Relief is the main Marian worship of Fumone. In 1936, for the 50th anniversary, the collegiate was restored in its interior and a dome was designed, designed by the architect Morosini, right in the chapel of SS. Sacrament.
For the year of Jubeo in 2000, the chapel decoration was restored by Master Paolino Cialone di Fumone. In January 1980, stolen sacrileges stole the icon along with many sacred furnishings. The Rome’s Guardia di Finanza found it reduced to twenty-two fragments and the faces of abrasive figures and without the gold crowns. The painting was entrusted to the studied Ukrainian monks of a monastery of Castel Gandolfo, who, after a delicate restoration, returned to the image the ancient splendor.
Pope John Paul II, aware of the affair, wanted to bless the picture at the hearing of April 30 of that year and three days after the icon returned to the affection of his fuming faithful.