The arrival of the painting of Saint John is recalled in Rodia. The great devotion of Castanea of ​​the Furies


By John

With the ritual of translation of the painting from the sea to Castaneathe celebrations have begun for St. John Baptistan event that the community of Castanea of ​​the Furies lives with great devotion. The fifteenth-century table, as the local historian explains Giovanni Quartarone, is the oldest find that marks the devotional presence of the patron saint. According to legend, handed down through oral tradition and attested at the beginning of the 20th century by the Messina historiographer Gaetano La Corte Cailler, the statue of Saint John would have been brought by the inhabitants of Rhodes on board a boat; on their way to Messina they were forced to stop at the mouth of the Rodia stream, unable to cross the strait due to a terrible storm. Along the way, in the place where the church of San Giovanni stands today, the box in which the painting was placed became very heavy. This sign was interpreted as the Saint’s desire to remain in that place and so a church dedicated to him was built in which the painting is still kept today. Since 2000, every year on June 14th, the prodigious event has been commemorated. Welcomed by the parish priest Don Enzo Majuri which made this solemn moment, among the prayers of the community, the painting was brought to Castanea.

the celebrations

Today, day 15, the novena begins in preparation for the celebration, animated by parish groups and local associations: at 6.30 pm the translation of the fercolo of San Giovanni animated by the Knights and the “S. John”; followed by the mass for the beginning of the novena. “Already at home the first sign is the lighting of the “da lampa i San Giuvanni” for all nine days (a wax candle replaces the oil lamp). The morning blasts with the bells which should ring for half an hour three times a day (at dawn, at two in the afternoon and in the evening at 10.30pm “u diciadotturi”), invite the faithful to the novenas: a community one in the church and the ‘another individual in the house,’ says Quartarone. Sunday 23 June, eve of the feast, at 6.30 pm the novena animated byJoan of Arc association and from Small Orchestra; at 7pm the mass presided over by Msgr. Francesco La Camera. “On the eve of midnight and facing the bell tower, or nearby, the oracle of “Ascuta” is secretly passed down. Always at night the magical herbs are collected and those collected the previous year are burned with a bonfire and on the windowsill, under the rays of the moon, it is time for the egg practice. For lunch we eat broad beans out of devotion,” Quartarone continues in his story. Monday 24 June, the day of the celebration, after 6.30 pm the solemn mass presided over by the parish priest Don Majuri, the procession of the wooden simulacrum of Saint John through the streets of the town. Upon returning, the fireworks show.