For many centuries, in the Borgo Ciociaro of Veroli Easter also entails a visit to the Sepulchres on the occasion of Holy Thursday and an impressive Procession on Good Friday.
On The afternoon of Holy Thursday, in the Church of the Benedictine Monastery and in the Cathedral of Saint Salome, the Holy Masses are celebrated in Coena Domini In remembrance of the Last Supper which the Lord consumed with the Apostles and from which the Eucharist originated.
During the mass, the priest washes and kisses the feet of 12 boys in a sign of humility before opening the Sepulchres. In fact, immediately after the ceremony, the Sepulchres are opened in seven Churches of Veroli, incorrectly called in this way because on the high altar of the same Churches there is the display of the Blessed Sacrament. We celebrate the Last Supper represented by the wafer and the Tabernacle is enveloped by veils and flowers.
In the Church of Sant’Agostino the tomb assumes a particular meaning because it is set up as a representation of the deposition with the Madonna Addolorata crying on the body of the dead Christ lying on the ground after the crucifixion.
In the Church of San Michele Arcangelo (St. Michael Archangel), in addition to the exposition of the tomb, every year some local artists set up an artistic infiorata with drawings made with coloured soil.
On Good Friday, at 5.00 o’clock in the morning, when it is still dark, the suggestive Procession of the Dead Christ and the Madonna Addolorata begins.
In the early morning, brothers of the “Brotherhood of Death, Charity and Prayer” and the Sisters of the “Brotherhood of the Pious Union of Sorrows” meet to relive the moments of the Passion of Jesus. They All wear black robes and sing the Stabat Mater, a religious prayer in music with traditions that begin in the Middle Ages, and having many authors who have then modified the composition of it with their style. From the Stabat Mater of Jacopone from Todi in the XII century begins the real worship of Mary Addolorata.
From the Church of Sant’Agostino (St. Augustine) comes a long procession that accompanies the statue of the Madonna Addolorata that visits the seven Churches, as the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, where the Sepulchres have been set up.
The procession goes to Sant’Erasmo and Sant’Angelo to arrive at the sunrise at San Leucio. Then it follows to Santa Croce, Sao Paulo, the Benedictine monastery to the Basilica of Santa Maria Salome.
Remember that at the entrance of the Basilica is the Holy Staircase that enjoys the same privileges as those of Rome and Jerusalem. The remains of Saint Salome, mother of John the Evangelist and James the elder, the one buried in Santiago de Compostela, are inside this church.
The Procession of Good Friday and the Madonna Addolorata is a tradition that has been repeated for hundreds of years and which is still respected by the community. The procession climbs up to the upper part of the city and, after stopping for prayers in the various Churches, returns around 9.00 hours to the Basilica of Santa Salome.
This is an event that you will never forget.