26.01.2012 0

Monaco: Two day religious festival

Saint Devote festival

Patron Saint of Monaco, Saint Devote, will celebrate its feast day today and tomorrow in the Principality. Among the celebrations, a religious mass and a street procession.

As one of the oldest traditions still present in the Principality and Corsica, folklore, history and arts are all combined into this two-day festival.

Over 26th and 27th January, a religious mass will be held at the Archevêque du Diocèse cathedral, which is also attended by Monaco’s royal family. After the ceremony, penitents of the Archiconfrérie de la Miséricorde head towards the Palace, where the Prince’s carabineers carry relics.

Once at the Palace, a fanfare is sounded to pay tribute. The procession then carries on towards the battlements.

In all, the relics are carried to the Palace, around Monaco and by the sea, in keeping with what Saint Devote wanted – protection of the prince, the royal family, Monaco and its residents.

In the very early 4th century, in Corsica, the Roman governor, Diocletian, ordered the great persecution of the Christians.

A young Christian, Devote, was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. She died without denying her faith. After her death, the governor of the province ordered for her body to be burnt, but the Christians saved her body and placed it on a boat bound for Africa, where they believed she would receive a proper Christian burial.

Right from the first hours of the crossing, a storm overtook the boat. Then, a dove flew out from Devote’s mouth and guided the boat to Monaco where it ran aground in the Gaumates (site of the present-day Saint Devote church). It was the sixth day before February, which approximately corresponds to 27th January,

Louise Kirby

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