PugliaRegione Puglia + LecceProvincia di Lecce 

Another feast deeply felt by the citizenry and solemnly celebrated on the second Sunday of October, is the one dedicated to Jesus Crucified, whose great effigy hung from the main architrave of the Matrix Church at least since the beginning of the 17th century. The simulacrum was hung from the architrave, as a tangible sign of the sacrifice of Christ, who gathered in his arms the invocations and hopes of the citizens, exploited in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Counts of Gattinara and the De Castro. Towards the middle of the 17th century, following the renovation of the Matrix church, the statue received a different location and began to be venerated with special celebrations.

At the centre of a new altar made with leccese stone richly sculpted according to the baroque style of the time, the effigy of the Crucifix was placed, which dominated in the middle of the columns and under a plaque regarding the remaking. It was the beginning of a strong increase in Monteronese devotion. The recurrence of the Holy Cross began to be celebrated with commitment: the first and second Vespers and the solemn mass were celebrated. It is also known that around 1670, 30 carlinus were spent for this purpose.

The Archpriest used to elect every year a procurator with the task of providing, through the collection of offerings, the necessary objects for the cult and the oil for the lamps. At the beginning 20 of the 18th century, alongside the Crucifix, there were also the simulacra of the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist, both carved in stone.

The celebrations in honour of the Crucifix received a considerable increase in the second half of the last century, when, following the cholera epidemic, the population, desperate and anguished, perhaps spurred on by the memory of episodes that had happened elsewhere in similar circumstances reported by tradition or by the live voice of the preachers, poured into the Matrix Church on 5 October and, overcoming the prudent attitude of the clergy, carried the statue in procession through the streets of the village, asking from the Heaven the healing that many had not managed to obtain.

The fact that the liberation from cholera in 1867 was due to a special grace of the Crucifix was the conviction not only of the people, but also of the clergy, who asked Pope Pius IX for an indulgence so that they could celebrate a solemn Mass of thanksgiving every year on the second Sunday of October. The Sacred Congregation of Rites granted the requested faculty, provided that on the same day there was no other major feast and the Conventual Mass was not missed.

On 24 January of the same year, the Vicar gave his blessing: the liturgical feast in honour of the Crucifix, which people had already begun to celebrate the year after the epilogue of cholera, was thus established. The memory of the event was renewed every year: during the pastoral visit of 1906, the Bishop tried to contain the magnificence of the procession by allowing only part of the clergy to use solemn liturgical vestments. At the beginning of the century, on 21 September 1919, while the elders remembered with great emotion the drama they had miraculously survived, Ercole Panico wrote the text and in August 1921 Maestro De Santis composed the instrumentation of a hymn to the Crucifix, later reworked in the motif by Maestro Salzano in September 1947.

The most solemn celebrations were those celebrated on the occasion of the centenary of the miracle, when in a very intense moment of faith and emotion the whole town showed that it was still mindful and grateful for the grace received a century earlier.


Il sito istituzionale del Comune di Monteroni di Lecce è un progetto realizzato da Parsec 3.26 S.r.l.

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