THE ORIGINS OF OUR HOLY WEEK
SAINT VINCENT FERRER IN JUMILLA, 1411
Towards the middle of the 14th Century, a Brotherhood of Disciplinantes de Santo Domingo is created in Siena (Italy). They practice ‘The Memory of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ inspired by the memory of The Passion, commemorating it on Holy Thursday and Holy Friday, despite the fact that their own festivities are the ‘Inveción y Exaltación de la Cruz’. The Penitentes Blancos appear during the Occidental Schism (1378-1417). They dress in white gowns as their name says, and with bare torsos they flagellate themselves until they shed blood. The first manifestation took place in Genoa (Italy), spreading and expanding throughout the Kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Navarre and France due to Saint Vincent Ferrer’s sermons.
The Hundred Years’ War between England and France, the economic crisis and the Black Death, cause in Europe two different and counterposed movements during this century: flagellators and pacifists. Their confrontation and the rapidity with which they expand scares The Church, so it is decided to maximize the Brotherhoods under the discipline of the ordinary Bishop, being each one of them allocated to their own church or temple, always remaining under the ecclesiastical hierarchy. This decision results in an important service to the Christian community because they are used by the secular and regular clergy to teach the laics to keep holy the Lord’s Day, instructing them in the meaning of The Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, making the liturgy a people’s activity with fasting and abstinence during Lent, ergo with penance.
Civil institutions, specially the Council, celebrate elections for City and Town Councils open in the Church, helping financially and sharing with the Brotherhoods the external manifestations: Holy Week services, processions, etc. Dominican and Franciscans also offer the laics another way, the Third Order, which appears in almost every Penitential Brotherhood. Two great preachers with universal fame emerge: Saint Bernardino of Siena (Franciscan) and Saint Vincent Ferrer (Dominican). Both center their sermons on the most dramatic aspects of The Passion of Christ, the coming of the Antichrist and the Final Judgment, decisively influencing listeners. Later on, this would influence the foundation of brotherhoods.
SAINT VINCENT FERRER in JUMILLA, 1411
Fr. Vincent Ferrer, during his periplus in Castilian lands invited by the King Juan II, arrives in Jumilla and stays there on April 18th, 19th, 20th of 1411 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday, respectively) from the villa of Cieza where the sermons had been given on the 16th and 17th . Many devotional people with different conditions and humbly dressed accompanied him. They were preceded by a man with a big wooden cross which denotes great austerity in the tradition. Men and women walked separately.
What a magnificent show the eager people of Jumilla must have watched from the privileged watchtower of the fort and the castle when they saw Fr. Vincent riding on his little donkey slowly advancing in the distance of the Cañada del Judío and preceded by a crowd of people from his Companionship, crossing the fertile garden through the dusty trail of Granada, until reaching the spur of the walled hill; ascending in a procession the windy and choppy access path to the fort and villa, going through the open gate of the wall, where clergy, governors and most part of the population were waiting to welcome them with enthusiastic cheers from their dwellers because of the expected and magno event that was awaiting due to the tremendous fame that preceded him, to finally join him up to Santiago’s Church (which would later receive the name of Santiago de Arriba)! What a splendid reception Saint Vincent and his Companionship must have had!
The same day he entered the Alcazaba, where the castle, the villa and the church were located, since the church was too small to shelter the expected crowd, a high podium or pulpit had been prepared for the event next to the south wall of the castle, near the Tower of the Master (‘Torre del Maestre’). This gave visibility from the esplanade in front of the church so as to be able to preach outdoors. There was a platform with the altar decorated with cloths next to the pulpit. This allowed the missionary Saint to be seen and heard by the crowd easily. The villa was composed of short and narrow streets, with little edification and few neighbors (in 1457, 144 neighbors), about four or five hundred habitants in 1411. The listeners of Master Vincent would double or triple in number.
As Master Vincent used to do during his trips, first he would enter the church to pray and immediately go up on the podium where the altar was built for the event, taking his cape off and dressing the sacerdotal clothing, singing solemnly the mass out loud with the religious and singers that accompanied him. Once finished, he would put on the cape of his Order again and sometimes he would need help from the people near the pulpit in order to come down due to his senescence (62 year-old) and his body’s weakness. He preached the Word of the Lord and the Catholic Faith that day and the following with the same enthusiasm a thirty-year-old would do, allowing many people there to understand and even to write his sermons. His preaching produced such effect on his listeners that he was able to touch the hard-hearted, helping them decide to penance, persevering on the path of the Lord.
Once he finished his sermons, the Companionship would reunite forming a Procession with the people, in two regiments around the Church of Santiago (de Arriba), as follows:
“…An image of Christ Crucified leaded the procession. It was carried by someone from the companionship, dressed with long clothes while they sang couplets in limousine that had been composed by Fray Vincent. An image of the Crucifix went behind in a well ordered precession with great luminaires and followed by disciples of the Saint who punished themselves with ropes or whips that had a bunch of silver or copper rosettes. In between were some neighbors of the little town who also wished to take the discipline of blood. They all walked barefoot dressing white cotton clothing which covered their whole body except their back. Their faces were also covered. There usually were many people, shedding blood down their back to the ground. A truly affectionate spectacle that made people emotional, tear up and feel the pain of the sins. These devoted penitents would accompany the painful strikes with litany canticles and other venerations. This part of the procession was immediately followed by a canvas script which expressed the Passion of Christ insignias and that guided the other part of the procession, formed by pious women, inhabitants from the villa and the region, attracted by Saint Vincent’s virtues. They dressed white linen tunics and covered their faces, crying out between the lashing: My Lord, mercy. The procession concluded with another Script, which canvas had a fine-painted devoted Virgin of Piety holding in her arms her son Jesus, as a corpse just after being taken down from the Cross. After this Script, was fray Vincent followed by a huge crowd of people from the village, all of them carrying lit paschal candles and singing litanies. This procession had its own governors who guided it and who took care of everything so as to keep it organized and well formed. This procession ended at night, returning to the Church from which it had come out.”.
PREACHED SERMONS in JUMILLA
Three sermons were preached in Jumilla in Limousin (a dialect from France, introduced in Aragon, Catalunya, Valencia and Mallorca by the King James I the Conqueror, and the language in which fray Vincent always preached in Italy, France, Castile, Aragon and Navarre and that all understood ‘talent for language’. Cervantes described it as funny, tender and pleasant.). The second sermon according to Pascual Madoz, 1850:’…was written by his own hand, and it is preserved in its archive…” (Curch-Hermitage of Santa María del Rosario, missing today). This sermon is given in the dominica in albis (Sunday after Easter) translated from latin by the Canon Don Juan Lozano Santa in his ‘History of Jumilla’ from 1800. In this second sermon fray Vincent tells us the reason why: ‘ … The Governors begged me to preach about the well running of this Villa and its People, with which they could achieve temporary and spiritual prosperities. This is not only good for this Villa, but also for others…’. The first and third sermons had remained unknown until 2002, year in which the Sermonary was published.
First Sermon.In Jumilla, Satuday, April 18th, 1411 Second Sermon.In the same place, Octave Easter Sunday (dominica in albis, April 19th, 1411). (Published by the Canon Lozano Santa. History of Jumilla. 1800). Third Sermon. In the same place, Monday after the octave of Easter (April 20th , 1411).
PROCESSIONS AND BROTHERHOODS
Over the years, on the Dominica in Albis, also known as Quasimodo’s Sunday, the people of Jumilla celebrated the Day of Saint Vincent Ferrer by going in a procession up to the Hermitage of Ntra. Sra. de Gracia(Patroness of Jumilla) next to the Castle, where a Mass with a Sermon was officiated accompanied by the typical Choir and Music from the Church of El Señor Santiago and where many people of the Clergy, Council and the village went. When the procession passed by the crag where the Hermitage of San Cristobal was built on and inside which there was an image of Saint Vincent Ferrer praying on a side of the altarpiece, the procession would stop. The Priest would give the blessing to the four cardinal points to prevent bad atmospheric conditions.
In the Chapel of the Sanctuary of the Church Mayor de Santiago there was an image of Saint Vincent Ferrer located on a little pedestal near the Altarpiece which was dominated by the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint Margaret, in a space next to the altar of the Virgin of Grace, place that is occupied today by the Christ of Expiry (in Spanish, Santísimo Cristo de la Expiración), probably the same one in the Hermitage of San Cristóbal, moved when the hermitage was ruined. According to the floor-plan from the Church built in 1925, the image of Saint Vincent was on the opposite side, also next to the altar. All of these images were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War (1936).
The painting donated by Mr. Esteban Tomás Tomás in 1953 is a significant one. It is preserved in the same church which has Our Lady of Grace (Patroness) as the main figure, under a canopy from which some curtains hang working as the background, decorating both sides with two big and gorgeous candelabrums, cords with tassels and, on the higher corners and at the bottom, there are flower chaplets and angelical figures. On both sides of Our Lady of Grace there are two kneeling figures that contemplate her: on the right side you can find the image of Saint Vincent Martyr dressed with priestly clothing, his hands put together laying on his chest and on him there is a phylactery (Saint Vincent Martyr); on the left side and at the same height , you can find the other figure of San Vincent Ferrer kneeling with his left arm extended pointing to the Virgin and on which there is a sinuous phylactery with the following inscription: Timete Deum et date illi honorem (Fear God and Honor Him). Both figures represent the patrons of Valencia. At the lower part, there is a magnificent panorama of the Alcazaba (walled enclosure) with the Castle, the Villa and the Church, that takes us back to 1411, year when fray Vincent’s visit, stay and preaching took place.
The Brotherhood of Ntra. Sra. Del Rosario,organizes the penitential procession on Holy Thursday in Jumilla, successor of those that were organized by the Companionship that went with Saint Vincent Ferrer during his journeys. This foundation was created not long after fray Vincent’s visit and the construction of the Church of Santa María del Rosario (one of the oldest with the Church of Santiago).
During the 17th Century, the penitential processions during Holy Week were organized by the Brotherhood of el Rosario and the new Sisterhood of the Vera Cruz. They would go out on Holy Thursday and the penitential brothers would accompany a Crucified and a Virgin of Sorrow. On Friday, during the afternoon, they would go with a figure of a laying Christ, stated in the Testament of Magdalena Tomás, widow of Pedro de Cutillas in 1626, in front of the scribe Jaime Carrión: “.if I am not present, I want another twill to be bought, with three or four rods and I want it to be put on the sepulcher in the hermitage of Santa María, covering the figure of Christ…” (4). It would be accompanied by a Virgin of Sorrow that transformed into Solitude (image which is connected to the family Pérez de los Cobos, with its own Chapel in the Church of Santiago, first on the side of the Gospel) (5)These processions are austere, they look for suffering and try to connect to Jesus through the pain of the whip.
Between 1594 and 1636, the Brotherhood of El Rosario, would carry out up to five Memories, Services and Solemn Masses during the months of February, March, August, September and October. Between 1720 and 1740, the Brotherhood celebrated Vigils, Processions and the Anniversary in Octuber and in 1724, 1725, 1726, 1727, 1738 and 1739, it celebrated Vigils in its Church-Hermitage Santa María del Rosario. It continued the celebration in Santiago, and between 1786 and 1811 (the last year it was registered) they include the Sermon in the Mass. The brothers go to Mass of Dawn and they carry out an awaking throughout the houses (See, Fiesta Murcia, pg. 71).
In 1849 and 1850 the house of Barón del Solar de Espinosa gives 6 reals to the Brotherhood of the Aurora, 25 reals to the Mayordomía del Santísimo, 2 reals to the Brotherhood of San Antonio Abad, 2 reals to the Mayordomía de San José and 2 reals to the Brotherhood of San Roque.
Vicente Canicio Canicio
Due to the importance of this event, two extraordinary processions with different motives and approaches will be held in 2011. The first one will take place during the Holy Week and the second one will concur with the Festivity of Saint Vincent Ferrer, which will go as follows:
Magno Entierro,,commemorative of this event, displays 23 sculptors, 35 pasos and 70 images that will make all the calendars vibrate the next Holy Saturday April 23rd, 2011.
Oración del Huerto
Jesús ante Herodes
Virgen del Primer Dolor
Cristo de la Columna
Cristo de la Sentencia
Cristo de la Caída
Cristo de la Misericordia
Hijas de Jerusalén
Jesús de Pasión
Virgen de la Amargura
Humildad y Paciencia
Elevación a la Cruz
Cristo de la Expiración
Cristo de la Salud
Cristo de la Reja
Cristo de la Vida
Cristo de las Cinco Llagas
Descendimiento de la Cruz
Virgen de las Angustias
Virgen de la Piedad
Lamentaciones ante Cristo
Traslado al Sepulcro
Cristo de la Redención
Santa María Magdalena
San Pedro Apóstol
San Juan Apóstol
Virgen de la Soledad
Saint Vincent Procession.This Project tries to recover the old procession of Saint Vincent, in order to remain as a reference and tribute to the core of our Holy Week. The date will concur with the Saint’s festivity when the image of Saint Vincent as well as the image of Our Lady of Grace will be on display. Our Lady of Grace is the original Patroness of Jumilla. At the entrance of her hermitage, located in the walled enclosure of the Alcazaba, the three sermons were pronounced. The itinerary will begin at the Church Mayor de Santiago and will go by the now missing hermitage of San Cristóbal to end inside the old Alcazaba of Jumilla.
EXHIBITIONS AND CONFERENCES
In Loco Jumilla
January 2010.Exhibition of the original Sermonary of Saint Vincent. Inside of which there is an interesting documentary exhibition that includes capitulate minutes, bundles and books regarding the brothehood’s foundations, chronicles from the convent of Santa Ana, original statutes from the 19th Century, etc. This exhibition is completed with paintings and sculptures of the time, most of them Jumillian collections, in which the influence of the sermons of the Valencian saint can be appreciated.
CENTURIES OF PASSION
From September to December 2010. CENTURIES OF PASSION. A retrospective exhibition which will gather most part of the Jumillian imagery, will be launched next Saturday September 25th at the Church of Santiago, and it will be opened until December 5th. Named CENTURIES OF PASSION, this exhibition will specify the whole Passion in four great spaces: Tears of Passion (which will reveal Mary’s suffering through 12 images of the Virgin), Crosses of Passion (which will display the crucified that march at Jumilla’s Holy Week, a total of 11), Witnesses of the Passion (where you can see all of those who witnessed the Passion of Christ, with a total of 19 sculptures) and for last, The Face of the Passion (in which we will contemplate the reflection of the Passion of Christ through the different gazes that Christ gives in each paso, and that consists of 20 images of Christ). In total 62 images which will show the Passion of Christ.
Download the PDF brochure with the list of the displayed images.
The calendar of the exhibitions will be:
Crosses of Passion: from September 25th to October 17th
Witnesses of the Passion: from October 21st to November 11th
The Face of the Passion: from September 25th to December 5th.
(Ongoing during the whole time).
The color of the Passion
It is an itinerant exhibition through the Region of Murcia and the bordering provinces as well as some of the capitals of Spain, which will have all the tunics that are used today during Jumilla’s Holy Week (30-40 tunics perfectly placed on mannequins purchased for this occasion).
Sculptors and Image Painters at Jumilla’s Holy Week
This book is a study of the work of different sculptors who have given life to Jumilla’s Holy Week throughout History. Their lives, styles and works will be shown thoroughly in more than two hundred pages. It has a total of 21 sculptors and a wide documentary report with photographs and documents.
The Light of the Passion
This book contains a wide selection of photographs (600 photos) from the end of the 19th Century to the last third of the 20th Century. All pictures are in black and white and are edited in large format.
Books of the Holy Week. Facsimile Edition
Publication in facsimile format of Holy Week books edited in the first third of the 20th Century. (1927-1933).
The Holy Week in Jumilla. The History of The Passion.
Another big project. A book which takes the reader through six centuries of the history of the Holy Week in Jumilla. An edition that analyses and compiles everything that has been written regarding Jumilla’s Holy Week. It also updates the patrimony of the Brotherhoods. A special format craft bookbinding edition.
‘Pregones’ of the Holy Week. 2000-2011.
This second volume compiles the ‘pregones’ from the year 2000 and is a sequel of an edition published in 1999, commemorating the XII Meeting of Brotherhoods celebrated in Jumilla which had the ‘pregones’ up to that date.
Years 2010 and 2011. Cultural Notebooks.
Two cultural notebooks regarding the study of two important Holy Week displays are thought to be edited soon. These are: ‘Los Armaos’ and ‘El Prendimiento’. Both of them, still among us today, date back to the middle of the 19th century.