The Visitapoveri Confraternity

confraternita lowIN FORIO FOUR CENTURIES OF TIMELESS STORY.

You have to settle with time. A time that seems like Janus, ancient Roman deity. He escapes, with an eye toward the past to recognize and guess but remaining still, motionless and impassive, and enjoys in its essential features the inlays of the memory, looking to the future. There is a time that passes and one that stays still. It shares with itself, looking inside, but at the same time safeguarding what produces looking outside, to reach it. It fights against its erosion, punctuated by the seasons passages that always alternate equal and that flow leaving the signs along the four hundred years of life of the “Visitapoveri Confraternity”.

This is the first impression, after there will be others by the careful eye of the visitor as soon as you walk through the door of a building seemingly sad but sober and majestic. Surrounded by the anglers’ neighborhood, the road connects to the old Bourbon pier, now called the “Church of Santa Maria di Visitapoveri”.

Initially created as a congregation, it was founded, presumably, according to researcher Agostino Di Lustro, between 1590 and 1620 and since 1656, it had to assist, activities that stopped because of the plague that struck Forio. It is the author, through the pages of the monograph devoted to today’s Confraternity, first printed in 1983 and later in 2014, who indicates and guides the path where are revealed the priceless treasures hidden inside a nave and supporting casually with four centuries of history. The living evidences of whose has devoted many of his years about precepts, rules, traditions, all necessarily adapted to an amorphous modernity defined “evolved” while remaining unable to understand the meaning of hiding-things, misrepresenting every direction. Behaviors, accurate and timely actions such as wearing the covering cap to hide, at t special times and meetings, the “brother” from head to toe in an almost total manner, this has been replaced the modern man, but not the time. A man, however, unable to outlined the essential features and the “whys” of an extraordinary rituality composed of suggestive commands almost monastic.
The eyes and the words of those who still feels strong the call of tradition and that makes up, today, the board of the Confraternity, celebrating one of the masterpieces of an island. It has learned to preserve in the face of a meaningless time as if it could be ours.
The oval paintings by Alfonso Di Spigna, dating back to 1770 observe visitors on both walls along the only rectangular nave until the marble altar behind which stands the window that faces the Church of Soccorso, along with the statues of the “Risen Christ”, the “Madonna” and “St. Giovanni Apostolo” of the same period. That one of the Announcer Angel dating back to 1600, become sharp and precious objects for the appointment of the traditional Angel’s run along the main street of Forio, on Easter Sunday. This solemn moment for over four centuries has fixed another of the essential tasks of the Visitapoveri Confraternity concealing without difficulty, on the tiled floor of 1700, the steps of millions of visitors from a profane world. The same visitors that exceeded the threshold of entrance, inside, had access to a size that shines in the sun’s rays to enlighten it. Then there are the choir and the old organ, which, along with the rest, representing the army and the evidence of silent resistance ah the “tempus fugit” against which nothing and one can anything. These witnesses are opposed to the solidity of traditions in an insistent and decided temporality with infallible perseverance of the men and women of the Confraternity of Santa Maria Visita Poveri. It led her battle against the most cunning enemy, the time, in front of which man can little or nothing except the use of their space as best as possible.
The group of five directors, today, is the central point of the Confraternity and preserves traditions and histories of human relations that for four hundred years have observed devotion, in this unformed present, laying down their weapons in front of the opening and change. God Janus - called the “Caretakers of Heaven”, opens the year and was named the month of January - the god who presided over the “passages” not only in the spatial sense. It concerns also to those who indicating the closing of a state to facilitate the opening of a new one, that the sense of all this assumes a well precise and definite form. Just from January the leadership of the Confraternity- the prior or “he who is earlier or first” - for the first time on the island of Ischia, is a woman. Anna Maria Verde, in this sense, is the “first” that was sacred to italic God and is new compared to the previous year. In the afternoon, at dusk, if you go to visit the Confraternity, not forget to ask questions and quench the thirst of curiosity. Do not forget to walk down the aisle and put your hands on the ground, on the floor, to feel the weight of the “passages”. Do not forget to cross the imposing altar and go towards the small window covered by grateful that shoots the Church of Soccorso. Do not be afraid to lose yourself after you have launched your eyes, looking for a prudent Sun drawn on a cart as it goes out to illuminate the past in the eternal transition to a new day on the future. In the hope that this is the prelude to the rebirth of a new day.

BY GRAZIANO PETRUCCI


 

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