Madonna del carmelo San Giovanni Gemini
Una montagna di eccellenze

Feast of Our Lady of Carmel

History and devotion off Nazareno San Giovanni Gemini

In the month of July

Celebration program 2021

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madonna del carmelo

The origins

History and Devotion The image that a community has of itself comes from a long process of sedimentation of faith, art and popular traditions; often these factors are so integrated with each other that they cannot be separated, to the point that one complements the other. San Giovanni Gemini and the devotion to the Madonna del Carmelo that has influenced history for five hundred years is just one example. This devotion begins with the birth of the town 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 the brothers of the Confraternity of San Giovanni Battista, who sold their church and they built an adjoining oratory, the current San Giuvannuzzu. Friars of holy life flourished in the convent, including fra Paolo da Cammarata, fra Filippo da Cammarata, p. Santo da Sutera and for the work of these the factory was enriched with a cloister with twenty-four columns of white stone and a garden now owned by the Alessi.  Since then, the history of the Madonna del Carmelo has thus been linked hand in hand with the alternating events of the Sangiovannese community. The story of a devotion and a people that intertwine and become complementary, but also the story of a city that was built with the signs of faith around the Carmelite church, which it wanted to materialize in architecture, art, rites, in the symbols the link with Mary.        A devotion that challenges the times and still remains today rich in human and Christian values without having suffered the wear and tear of time.  The feast Until a few years ago, the feast of the Madonna del Carmelo was held on the second Sunday of September. Today it is celebrated in July between Sunday and 16  of the month day of the Madonna. But in ancient times, preceded by seven Wednesdays, it was solemnized on Pentecost Sunday as shown in this document. On March 31, 1677 the bishop of Agrigento Msgr. Francesco Rini granted permission to exhibit the Blessed Sacrament for the feast of the Madonna del Carmine:  "The devotees of the glorious lady of Carmine have made a request to me that, having to solemnize her feast on the day of Pascha of Pentecost, in their own church, before which seven Wednesdays precede, in the middle of one Pascha and the other, to increase the public devotion, they want, as in the past, to expose the Divine Sacrament thus in the said seven days of Wednesday, as in the said feast day ».  It was celebrated by the heirs of Pietro Alessi, believed to be the ancestor of the current family of the Alessi barons, having been granted the chapel of the Madonna with this obligation. News confirmed by Nicolina Alessi's legacy of income for the celebration of masses "in front of the altar of the glorious Virgin Mary of Carmine, existing in the chapel of the Carmine church, called the Alessi chapel, where there is the image of said glorious Virgin of relevo ". The feast has always been supported with the free offerings of the faithful, both in kind and, especially in recent years, in cash.

chiesa maria ss del carmelo
chiesa del carmelo
santa messa
comitato festeggiamenti madonna del carmelo

In our century, despite having been crossed by strong ideological travails, which have not a little 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 context of the religious feasts of the liturgical year. Since the first days of July, the celebrations 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 singing of traditional joys and the Eucharistic celebration remain unchanged. Evocative and moving, on the eve, the descent of the Madonna from the altar: expert hands slowly allow the simulacrum to descend among its people. During the night, the aux-flambeaux intercity pilgrimage gathers the faithful of the parishes of  San Giovanni Gemini and Cammarata to end at the Carmine with a vigil. On July 16, Eucharistic concelebration in the churchyard and procession of the simulacrum over an artistic fercolo in solid walnut wood made by the master Carmelo Lupo, pride of local craftsmanship. Peculiarity of the festival is the folkloristic ride that takes place on the Sunday closest to July 16th. A long parade of horses, mules and donkeys harnessed with rattles and saddlecloths 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, while being an attraction for scholars of Sicilian folklore and traditions, has lost its original function of expression of gratitude to the Madonna, except for the figure of the "Paliante", the one who leads the "Palio" and , in the center of the main square between the exultation of the people and the music of the bands, he places a generous offer.  Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is not folklore or meaningless tradition, but a true treasure of Christian faith and spirituality, which is nourished by the Word of God and the liturgy, which has been transmitted to us and we all have the duty to guard, enrich, deepen and transmit if it is true, as it is true, what a popular Sicilian verse teaches us: "Without Maria sarvari nun si po '!".  

Madonna du Carminu

The simulacrum

The Simulacrum of M. SS. of Carmel  On an artistic marble altar the simulacrum of Maria SS. of Carmel. By an unknown artist from the first half of the 16th century, in polychrome walnut wood, it responds to the typical iconography of the Carmelite order and represents the Madonna who with the left shows the Child on whom he slightly reclines his head without turning his head.  he looks and with his right hand he holds out 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 cloak. This, with the elegant and sinuous drapery, barely suggests the position of the body. Much of the polychrome coating has survived unfortunate restorations. Both the robe and the cope are enriched with gilding in imitation of motifs embroidery  phytomorphic and geometric. A rich band closes the edges of the coat. The knee of the Madonna, worn out by innumerable hands, shows the popular devotion of which the image is the 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 dress are certainly attributable to the sculptural art of the early sixteenth century, strongly influenced by Spanish taste and culture, which enriched the simulacra with precious garments embroidered in gold, silver and silk.  A recent restoration has brought the work back to its original splendor after three centuries of arbitrary overlapping. The devotional decorations that permanently covered the simulacrum have been removed, allowing an immediate reading of the details.   Text: Vincenzo Scrudato

There  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 the 16th of the month, the day of the Madonna. But in ancient times, preceded by seven Wednesdays, it was solemnized on Pentecost Sunday as shown in this document. On March 31, 1677 the bishop of Agrigento Msgr. Francesco Rini granted permission to exhibit the Blessed Sacrament for the feast of the Madonna del Carmine: "The devotees of the glorious lady of Carmine have made a request to me that, having to solemnize her feast on the day of Pascha of Pentecost, in their own church, in front of which seven Wednesdays precede, in the middle of a Pascha and the other, by increasing public devotion, they want as in the past to expose the Divine Sacrament thus in the said seven days of Wednesday, as in the said feast day ».
It was celebrated by the heirs of Pietro Alessi, believed to be the ancestor of the current family of the Alessi barons, having been granted the chapel of the Madonna with this obligation. News confirmed by Nicolina Alessi's legacy of income for the celebration of masses "in front of the altar of the glorious Virgin Mary of Carmine, existing in the chapel of the Carmine church, called the Alessi chapel, where there is the image of said glorious Virgin of relevo ".
The feast has always been supported with the free offerings of the faithful, both in kind and, especially in recent years, in cash. In our century, despite having been crossed by strong ideological travails, which have not a little 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 context of the religious feasts of the liturgical year. Since the first days of July, the celebrations 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 singing of traditional joys and the Eucharistic celebration remain unchanged. Evocative and moving, on the eve, the descent of the Madonna from the altar: expert hands slowly allow the simulacrum to descend among its people.
During the night, the aux-flambeaux intercity pilgrimage gathers the faithful of the parishes of San Giovanni Gemini and Cammarata to end at the Carmine with a vigil.
On July 16, Eucharistic concelebration in the churchyard and procession of the simulacrum over a
artistic fercolo in solid walnut wood made by the master Carmelo Lupo, pride of local craftsmanship. Peculiarity of the festival is the folkloristic ride that takes place on the Sunday closest to July 16th.
A long parade of horses, mules and donkeys harnessed with rattles and saddlecloths 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, while being an attraction for 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", the one who leads the "Palio" and, in the center of the main square between the exultation of the people and the music of the bands, he places a generous offering.
Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is not folklore or meaningless tradition, but a true treasure of Christian faith and spirituality, which is nourished by the Word of God and the liturgy, which has been transmitted to us and we all have the duty to guard, enrich, deepen and transmit if it is true, as it is true, what a popular Sicilian verse teaches us: "Without Maria sarvari nun si po '!".
The Simulacrum of M. SS. del Carmelo On an artistic marble altar the simulacrum of Maria SS. of Carmel. By an unknown author from the first half of the 16th century, in polychrome walnut wood, it responds to the typical iconography of the Carmelite order and represents the Madonna showing the Child with her left hand on whom she slightly reclines her head without turning her gaze and with her right holds out 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 cloak.
This, with the elegant and sinuous drapery, barely suggests the position of the body. Much of the polychrome coating has survived unfortunate restorations. Both the dress and the cope are enriched with gilding in imitation of embroideries with phytomorphic and geometric motifs.
A rich band closes the edges of the coat. The knee of the Madonna, worn out by innumerable hands, shows the popular devotion of which the image is the 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 dress are certainly attributable to the sculptural art of the early sixteenth century, strongly influenced by Spanish taste and culture, which enriched the simulacra with precious garments embroidered in gold, silver and silk.
A recent restoration has brought the work back to its primitive splendor after three centuries of
arbitrary overlaps. The devotional decorations that permanently covered the simulacrum have been removed, allowing an immediate reading of the details.
Text: Vincenzo Scrudato

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