from April 03, 2017 to April 24, 2017

Holy Thursday

When the Church is going to celebrate Mass of the Lord's Supper, commemorating the institution of the Eucharist and the sacrament of love, the brotherhoods perform S'Incravamentu, the crucifixion of Jesus, that according to the Gospel took place the day after.

In the Oratory of Santo Cristo (Holy Christ) in piazza San Giacomo, at 03.30 p.m, a simulacrum provided with jointed limbs is extracted from its niche under the main altar and nailed to the great black wooden cross in the middle of the room. While the priest pronounces some prayers, the brothers wrap the crucified statue in scented cotton lints, subsequently removed and distributed to the devotees. Eventually, the statue is crowned with thorns and surrounded by lights, flowers and is nenniris (wheat seedling grown in the dark, taking the characteristic whitish colour). This is how a real funeral wake starts, passing directly from the crucifixion of Christ to his embalming and to the brief condolence that preceded his hasty burial. Significantly, the latter rite is called Monumentu, meaning "tomb" in ancient sardinian language.

Shortly afterwards (04.00 p.m.), a similar ceremony is celebrated in the Church of San Giovanni by the Confraternity of Nostra Signora della Solitudine (Our Lady of Solitude). The great Crucifix is taken from the side chapel, where it had been laid on Palm Sunday, and exposed to the worship in the middle of the church, surrounded by lights, flowers and nenniris.
An honour guard stands until late at night.

The brothers of the Confraternity of Gonfalone (Flag), instead, celebrate a nocturne procession in fulfilment of a vow probably made in the 17th century. By the light of torches, the cortege accompanies the statue of Sant'Efisio in its tour of seven churches, starting at 09.00 p.m. from their seat, in the district of Stampace. The statue is carried inside each of the churches on its path, to be placed in front of the "sepulchre" with the Eucharist or the monumentu with Dead Christ, while the priest pronounces a short homily for the devotees.

According to an anonymous poem written in sardinian logudorese language and published in Cagliari in 1787, the procession takes origin from a miraculous event. Efisio, menacing-looking, would have appeared in «su Porcxu de Bolonha» (nowadays Portico La Marmora, in the district of Castello) to a man who intended to contaminate stoups with a powerful poison. That's how the terrified attacker gave up and confessed. It happened on a Holy Thursday of an unknown year, but the hate shown by the man against the city of Cagliari makes assume that the tale refers to the 17th century, when the opposition between northern and southern Sardinia reached its highest point. From then on, as a sign of gratitude, the Confraternity of Gonfalone (Flag) has carried the statue of Sant'Efisio in procession, instead of the one of Our Lady of Sorrows, as the poet pointed out. He refers to the well-known sardinian tradition of sas chilcas (the search): on Holy Thursday, at night, after the Mass of the Lord's Supper and the putting of the Eucharist in the so-called "sepulchre", in various areas of the island the statue of the Lady of Sorrows are carried in a nocturne procession, recalling her anguish after Jesus was arrested.

A different version about the origin of the procession was written in the 19th century by Giovanni Spano. According to this source, at first the cortege of Gonfalone (Flag) paraded the statue commonly called Sant'Efis Sballiau (the wrong Sant'Efisio), because it holds the martyr's palm in his right hand instead of the left and wears a simple tunic in place of the armor. In that "greek manner", the protector of Cagliari would have appeared in a dream to the Viceroy Filippo Pallavicino of Saint Remy, at the beginning of the Savoy domination (around 1720), to warn him of an attempted poisoning of the city wells in the district of Castello.


Do You want to know when the next special event will be online? We will inform you