from March 19, 2018 to April 09, 2018

Holy Friday

The most popular ceremony of Cagliari's Holy Week is doubtless the solemn cortege that carries the monumental crucified Christ from the church of San Giovanni in the district of Villanova up to the Cathedral, on top of the hill of Castello, held on Good Friday afternoon. A large group of devotees, specially women, is used to waiting outside the church since early morning, in order not to loose the privilege of contributing to the transport of the heavy simulacrum.

The procession, organized by the Confraternity of Nostra Signora della Solitudine (Our Lady of Solitude), leaves the church of S. Giovanni at 1.15 p.m., and is totally similar to the one that, in ancient times, used to accompany the condamned to the gallows. Two drummer boys, playing a funeral march, are followed by black banners showing the instruments of the Passion. The cortege carries also four embossed silver lampposts and two penance crosses, one for the brothers and the other for the sisters. The latters, completely dressed in mourning, walk on to parallel lines holding a lit candle in a hand, emphasizing the funeral atmosphere of this rite. 

Their dark double line stands in contrast to the monumental Crucifix, carried by dozens of devotees crowding around the simulacrum with outstretched hands, to touch it. As a sign of reverence, the brothers cover it with a large canopy, whose white colour and eucharistic decoration simbolically recalls the concepts of life and resurrection as results of Christ's death. It is followed by the Lady of Sorrows, together with two children playing the role of the Apostole Saint John and Mary Magdalene.

The last part of the cortege consists of the great massa of choristers, wearing a simple white sackcloth. At each stop-over the chorus performs heart rending solemn hymns dedicated to Christ and to the Madonna from its repertory, written in italian language and prevalently dating back to the 18th century. After gathering hundreds of people on its path, the Crucifix solemny enters the cathedral at 03.00 p.m., the time of Christ's death according to the Gospel.

Since 2007, the ceremony of the elevation of the Crucifix has been recovered after a decades-long interruption. After its veneration, the simulacrum is lowered and exposed in the left transept, until the day after. Then, the Lady of Sorrows takes its way back to the church of San Giovanni, accompanied by brothers, sisters and choristers. Meanwhile, at 04.30 p.m., a similar procession leaves the Oratory of Santo Cristo, held by the Confraternity of the same name.  The drummer boys, the Cross of Mysteries, flanked by two lampposts, and the massa (choir) lead the Crucifix covered by a white canopy and the Lady of Sorrows to the church of San Lucifero.

In ancient times, S'Incravamentu and Su Scravamentu were held also in the districts of Marina and Stampace, but nowadays the only survival of that is the procession leaving the church of Sant'Efisio at 08.30 p.m. By the light of the torches, the Confraternity of Gonfalone (Flag) solemny carries a crucifix laid in a litter and partially covered with burial linens. Once again, it is followed by the Lady of Sorrows and the children in the roles of S. John and Mary Magdalene. In an evocative and moving semidarkness, the cortege winds through the main streets of the neighbourhood until late at night.

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