The Holy Face and Santa Croce’s Luminara
The Holy Face (or Holy Cross) is a crucifix made of walnut that is located inside the Cathedral of St. Martin in an isolated chapel in the left aisle performed by Matthew Civitali in 1482.
The procession of the Holy Face (Santa Croce’s Luminara) takes place on September 13 of each year and retraces the same route, starting from the Basilica of San Frediano around at 20.00 and arrival at the Cathedral of St. Martin.
The “Illuminations” specifically cross Fillungo street, Via Roma, Piazza San Michele, Via Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Napoleone, Piazza del Giglio, Via del Duomo, Piazza San Giovanni and Piazza San Martino.
The procession of “The Holy Face and Santa Croce’s Luminara”, nowdays, is the latest testimony of an ancient common practice in all major cities of the Middle Ages in which the subject populations undertook – at the time of submission – to bring a wax tribute, in times when the wax ‘bee was a luxury item; also the amount of wax was established in general in dedication agreements, depending on the seller’s possibilities. This offer was made in solemn form, once a year, at the feast of the patron saint of the hegemonic city. However this wax was not immediately turned on, but preserved to provide illumination of the statue for the following year.
The city will be illuminated by the presence of thousands of candles hung along the streets and the sides of buildings. A suggestion that now is part of the tradition of Lucca.
The “Illuminations” is made from the religious, from the “institutional” civil and finally, by reminiscent groups in historical costume. Upon arrival in St. Martin’s Cathedral there will be a tribute to the Holy Face, the Archbishop’s speech, songs by the choirs and the closing liturgy. It will then run the Mottettone, a polyphonic choral and instrumental type that involves the use of a large orchestra and a double choir that is dialed from year to year by Lucca musicians on the occasion of the feast for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross .
The manifestations of the Holy Cross concludes with the blessing of Archbishop.
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