La Madonna del Carmelo  San Giovanni Gemini 

History and Devotion The image that a community has of itself stems from a long process of sedimentation of faith, art and popular traditions; often these factors are so integrated that they can not be split up, to the point that one completes the other. San Giovanni Gemini and the devotion to the Madonna del Carmelo that has been influencing historical development for five hundred years, is just one example. This devotion begins with the birth of the country when at the behest of Countess Margherita Abatellis the Carmelite fathers from the church of San Biagio in Cammarata moved to San Giovanni Gemini where they were hosted by confreres of the Confraternity of San Giovanni Battista, who ceded their church and an adjoining oratory was built, the current San Giuvannuzzu. Friars of holy life flourished in the convent, among them Friar Paolo da Cammarata, Friar Filippo da Cammarata, Fr. Santo da Sutera and for the work of these the factory was enriched by a cloister with twenty-four columns of white stone and a garden now owned by the Alessi family. Since then, the story of the Madonna del Carmelo is linked, in parallel, to the alternating events of the Sangiovese community. History of a devotion and a people that interweave and become complementary, but also history of a city that was built with signs of faith around the Carmelite church, which wanted to materialize in architecture, art, rites, in the symbols the link with Mary.          A devotion that defies times and still remains rich in human and Christian values ​​without having suffered the wear and tear of time. The party The feast of the Madonna del Carmelo until a few years ago was held on the second Sunday of September. Today it is celebrated in July between Sunday and 16th of the month of Our Lady. But in ancient times, preceded by the seven wednesday, it was solemnized on the Sunday of Pentecost as is clear from this document. On 31 March 1677 the bishop of Agrigento Msgr. Francesco Rini granted permission to exhibit the Blessed Sacrament for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: "The devotees of the glorious lady of Carmine have asked me to solemnize her feast on the day of the Pascha of Pentecost, in her own church. before seven on Wednesdays, in the middle of one Pascha and the other, for increase of public devotion, they want as in the past to expose the Most Divine Sacrament so in the said seven days of Wednesday, as in that day of the festival. It was celebrated by the heirs of Pietro Alessi, considered the ancestor of the current family of the Alessi barons, having been granted the chapel of the Madonna with this obligation. News confirmed by the legacy of annuities of Nicolina Alessi for the celebration of masses "inciting the altar of the glorious Virgin Mary of Carmine, existing in the chapel of the church of Carmine, called the chapel of the Alessi, where there is the image of said glorious Virgin of relevo ". The party has always been supported with the free offers of the faithful, both in nature and, especially in recent years, in money. In our century, despite having been crossed by strong ideological troubles, which have not influenced the life of the sangiovannese, the cult of Mary has been consolidated. The feast, which is an expression of thanksgiving and praise to the "Bedda Matri", is of particular importance in the religious festivals of the liturgical year. From the first days of July the festivities committee, the Cultural Association "M.SS. del Carmelo ", in collaboration with the parish priest, intensify the preparations. The feast is preceded by a solemn Novena that brings the entire population to Mary's feet: every evening the recitation of the rosary, the song of traditional joy and the celebration of the Eucharist remains unaltered. On the eve, the Madonna's descent from the altar is evocative and moving: expert hands allow the simulacrum to descend slowly among her people. During the night, the inter-city pilgrimage aux-flambeaux collects the faithful of the parishes of San Giovanni Gemini and Cammarata to end at the Carmine with a vigil. On July 16, Eucharistic concelebration on the churchyard and procession of the statue on an artistic fercolo in solid walnut wood made by the master Carmelo Lupo, pride of local craftsmanship. Peculiarities of the festival is the folklore ride that takes place on the Sunday closest to July 16th. A long parade of horses, mules and donkeys harnessed with bells and gualdrappe embroidered in gold and silk. It certainly has distant origins and is linked to our agricultural and peasant culture, when the local lord offered the wheat of the year to the Madonna carrying it on rich mounts. Today the ride, although an attraction for the scholars of folklore and Sicilian traditions, has lost its original function of expression of gratitude to the Madonna, except for the figure of the "Paliante", who leads the "Palio" and , at the center of the main square between the exultation of the people and the music of the bands, lays a generous offer. The devotion to Our Lady of Carmel is not a meaningless tradition or tradition, but a true treasure of Christian faith and spirituality, which feeds on the Word of God and the liturgy, which has been transmitted to us and we all have the duty to preserve, enrich, deepen and transmit if it is true, as it is true, what teaches us a popular Sicilian verse: «Without Maria sarvari nun si po '!». The Simulacrum of M. SS. del Carmelo On the artistic marble altar the statue of Maria SS is venerated. of Carmel. Of an unknown author of the first half of the sixteenth century, in polychrome walnut wood, he responds to the typical iconography of the Carmelite order and represents the Madonna with the left showing the Child on which he slightly reclines his head without turning his eyes and with his right hand hands the scapular. The Virgin, dressed in a high-waisted tunic tied by a belt according to Renaissance fashion, is almost entirely covered with a heavy blanket. This, with the elegant and sinuous drapery leaves just to sense the position of the body. Much of the polychrome coating has survived unhappy renovations. Both the garment and the cope are embellished with gilding to imitate embroidery with phytomorphic and geometric motifs. A rich band closes the edges of the mantle. The knee of the Madonna, broken by countless hands, shows the popular devotion of which the image is object. A recurring iconography, therefore, in the sculptural production of a Marian subject that has been repeated for centuries and with few variations. The richness of the details, the undulating folds of the mantle and of the garment are certainly attributable to the sculptural art of the early sixteenth century strongly influenced by Spanish taste and culture, which enriched the simulacra of precious robes embroidered in gold, silver and silk. A recent restoration has brought the work back to its original splendor after three centuries of arbitrary overlap. The devotional decorations that permanently covered the simulacrum were removed, allowing an immediate reading of the details. Text: Vincenzo Scrudato
Chiesa madonna del carmelo san giovanni
statua madonna del carmelo.PNG

Nel nostro secolo, nonostante sia stato attraversato da forti travagli ideologici, che non poco hanno influenzato la vita del sangiovannese, il culto a Maria è stato consolidato. La festa, che è espressione del ringraziamento e della lode alla “Bedda Matri”, riveste una particolare importanza nell’ambito delle feste religiose dell’anno liturgico. Sin dai primi giorni del mese di luglio il comitato festeggiamenti, l’Associazione Culturale “M.SS. del Carmelo”, in collaborazione con il parroco, intensificano i preparativi.  La festa è preceduta da una solenne Novena che porta ai piedi di Maria l’intera popolazione: puntualmente ogni sera resta inalterata la recita del rosario, il canto delle tradizionali allegrezze e la celebrazione Eucaristica. Suggestiva e commovente, alla vigilia, la discesa della Madonna dall’altare: mani esperte permettono lentamente al simulacro di scendere tra la sua gente. Nella notte il pellegrinaggio intercittadino aux–flambeaux raccoglie i fedeli delle parrocchie di San Giovanni Gemini e Cammarata per concludersi al Carmine con una veglia. Il 16 Luglio concelebrazione Eucaristica sul sagrato e processione del simulacro sopra un artistico fercolo in legno di noce massiccio realizzato dal maestro Carmelo Lupo, vanto dell’artigianato locale. Peculiarità della festa è la cavalcata folkloristica che si svolge la domenica più vicina al 16 Luglio. Una lunga sfilata di cavalli, muli ed asini bardati con sonagliere e gualdrappe ricamate in oro e seta. Essa ha certamente origini lontane e si lega alla nostra cultura agricola e contadina, quando il signore del luogo offriva il frumento dell’anno alla Madonna portandolo su ricche cavalcature. Oggi la cavalcata, pur costituendo un’attrattiva per gli studiosi del folklore e delle tradizioni siciliane, ha perso la sua funzione originaria di espressione della riconoscenza alla Madonna, tranne che per la figura del “Paliante”, colui che conduce il “Palio” e, al centro della piazza principale tra l’esultanza del popolo e la musica delle bande, depone una generosa offerta.  La devozione alla Madonna del Carmelo non è folklore o tradizione senza significato, ma un vero tesoro di fede e spiritualità cristiana, che si nutre della Parola di Dio e della liturgia, che ci è stato trasmesso e tutti abbiamo il dovere di custodire, arricchire, approfondire e trasmettere se è vero, come è vero, quello che ci insegna un verso popolare siciliano: «Senza Maria sarvari nun si po’!».    

festa santissima maria del carmelo san g
festa santissima maria del carmelo san g

Il Simulacro di M. SS. del Carmelo   Su di un artistico altare in marmo si venera il simulacro di Maria SS. del Carmelo. Di autore ignoto della prima metà del XVI secolo, in legno di noce policromo, risponde alla iconografia tipica dell’ordine carmelitano e rappresenta la Madonna che con la sinistra mostra il Bambino su cui reclina leggermente il capo senza però volgergli  lo sguardo e con la destra porge lo scapolare. La Vergine, vestita con una tunica dalla vita alta legata da una cintura secondo la moda rinascimentale è quasi interamente ricoperta da un pesante manto. Questo, con il panneggio elegante e sinuoso lascia appena intuire la posizione del corpo. Gran parte del rivestimento policromo è sopravvissuto a restauri poco felici. Sia la veste che il piviale sono arricchiti da dorature ad imitazione di ricami dai motivi fitomorfi e geometrici. Una ricca fascia chiude i bordi del manto. Il ginocchio della Madonna, liso da innumerevoli mani, manifesta la devozione popolare di cui è oggetto l’immagine.  Un’iconografia ricorrente, quindi, nella produzione scultorea di soggetto mariano che si ripete da secoli e con poche varianti.   La ricchezza dei particolari, le ondulanti pieghe del manto e della veste sono certo riconducibili all’arte scultorea del primo cinquecento fortemente influenzata dal gusto e dalla cultura spagnola, che arricchiva i simulacri di pregevoli vesti ricamate in oro, argento e seta.  Un recente restauro ha riportato l’opera al suo primitivo splendore dopo ben tre secoli di arbitrarie sovrapposizioni. I devozionali addobbi che permanentemente ricoprivano il simulacro sono stati tolti, consentendo una immediata lettura dei particolari.     Testo: Vincenzo Scrudato

festa santissima maria del carmelo san g

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