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Our Lady of the Letter - Messina PDF Print E-mail

"Our Lady of the Letter" is one of the names used by the Catholic religion in the veneration of Mary, Mother of Jesus

The tradition, using a statement of historical Lucio Flavio Destro, said that St. Paolo, arrived at Messina to preach the Gospel, found the people willing to leave converted. Soon, many people accepted the invitation to convert to Christianity and, in 42, when Paul was ready to return to Palestine, some of the inhabitants of Messina asked to accompany him to know Our Lady. So a delegation went in Palestine with a letter, in which many citizens who converted to Christianity, professed their faith and seek the protection of Mary.

Maria received them and sent back a letter, written in Hebrew, rolled and tied with a lock of her hair. The delegation returned to Messina on September 8, 42 bringing the important missive : Mary praised their faith , said to appreciate their devotion and assured them his perpetual protection.

So terminates the letter: "Vos et Ipsam civitatem benedicimus", that is "I bless you and your city". The text is now written in large letters at the
base of the stele of Madonna in the harbor of Messina. From that year, the city of Messina celebrates Our Lay of the Letter on June 3, with a crowded procession of the silver "fercolo" of Our Lady and on August 15, with the procession of the colossal "Vara", dragged by hundreds of faithful dressed in white, with the participation of hundreds of thousands of faithful and curious people from all over Europe.

In Messina, on June 3, will be celebrated the religious feast. In the morning, takes place a solemn celebration presided by archbishop with the participation of all religious and chivalric orders. In the afternoon, the simulacrum representing the Madonna of the letter, is carried in procession, work of the master Lio Gangeri dating from the nineteenth century.

The moat solemn feast is that of the Assumption which takes place on August 13 to 15, attended by thousands of faithful and tourists. On August 14, two huge statues of wood and cardboard march in the streets of Messina, representing respectively "U Giganti" and "A Gigantissa" (The Giants). On August 15, is celebrated the feast of the Assumption. During the day, a "vara" representing the Assumption into heaven of the Virgin Mary, dating back to 1535, is carried in procession. This Construction is nothing more than a complex gimmick composed of many gears and leaning on a strain of very sturdy oak.

All devotees actively participate to the procession clapping and shouting "Long live to Maria". As soon as the Vara comes to the cathedral, it takes place a magnificent show of fireworks that are fired from small boats near the statue of Madonna in  the harbor of Messina.

Some parts of this article are from Wikipedia

 

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