La processione dei Misteri

Settimana Santa a Trapani

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For nearly 400 years in Trapani there is one of the most famous representation of Christ’s Passion, that is the Procession of “Misteri”, that starts on Good Friday afternoon and concludes twenty-four hours later.

The procession, composed by eighteen groups and two sacred images of Jesus Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows, leaves from the church “Anime Sante del Purgatorio” and it goes along most of the streets of the city centre. The manifestation, where sacred and profane meet one to each other, represents a moment of union for the whole town, but, above all, it is an high tourist attraction. One of the main features of the Procession of “Misteri” was the presence of the so-called the Wycliffites, that was following the “vare” by wearing a cowl and holding a large candle in one of their hands. They were excluded by the then bishop of Trapani, Mons. Francesco Miccichè, that decided to dissolve the Confraternity of S. Michele Arcangelo which the Wycliffites belonged to.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    1st group:
    The separation

    Work by Mario Ciotta - goldsmiths’guild

    The Procession of “Misteri” in Trapani starts with this group, representing the moment when Jesus must part from Maria, his mother, and from the Apostle Giovanni. The statues have been realized by the author Mario Ciotta, and, by their faces, you note all the characters’ sadness and resignation and the awareness of their sad destiny. The group belongs to the goldsmiths’ guild, that it was committed to by a notarial act on April 6th, 1621. There are also several handmade silver articles that embellish the Sacred Group.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    2nd group:
    The washing of feet/h6>

    Work by Mario Ciotta and reconstruction by Giuseppe Cafiero - fishermen’s guild

    The second Sacred Group represents one of the humblest acts that Jesus may do, that is to say washing His “disciples’ feet. He is “Servant of His Servants”. Pietro tries to raise Jesus, knee ling in front of Him. The group in the procession is not the original, that was destroyed because of a quarrel between two guilds, that once quarrelled with each other about it. In 1704, after they made peace, Mario Ciotta was asked to rebuilt it and then it was definitely assigned to the fishermen’s guild. During the Second World War it was seriously damaged by the bombings and, therefore, it was restored by Giuseppe Cafiero.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    3rd group:
    Jesus in the garden of Jetsemani

    Work by Baldassare Pisciotta - greengrocers’guild

    The group represents the moment when Jesus is praying in the garden of olives and receives the visit of an Angel, that offers Him the bitter chalice of Passion. Behind Jesus there are the Apostles Pietro, Giacomo and Giovanni, that are sleeping serenely because of their tiredness. The Sacred Group, assigned to the greengrocers’ guild, is a work by Baldassarre Pisciotta and it was restored by Giuseppe Cafiero after the Second World War.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    4th group:
    The arrest

    Work by ignoto and reconstruction by Vito Lombardo - metalworkers’guild

    This group shows the moment when Jesus is arrested by the guards. Judas has betrayed Him and the Via Crucis has started. The representation is very dramatic because, while a man is lighting up with a lantern, a guard is putting Jesus in chains and Pietro is cutting the ear to the servant Malchus. The work has been realized by Vito Lombardo and assigned to the metalworkers’ guild.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    5th group:
    The falling to the kidron

    Work by Francesco Nolfo - mariners’guild

    The group was assigned to the mariners by a notarial act on April 6th, 1621 and it is a portray of Jesus’ falling on the river bed of the stream Kidron, while He was bringing to the Sanhedrim by the soldiers. The episode is not described in the official Gospels, but in a story by Santa Brigida. The group is embellished by rich, silver ornaments, proof of the jewellers’ big vitality in Trapani.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    6th group:
    Jesus in front of Hanna

    Work by ignoto and reconstruction by Domenico Li Muli - fruiterers’guild

    It is a work by an unknown author and it shows the moment when Jesus is questioned by Hanna, while a guard is slapping Him with an iron glove. The group, assigned to the fruiterers’ guild, has been damaged during the Second World War and it has been reconstructed by the famous artist Domenico Li Muli.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    7th group:
    The denial

    Work by Baldassare Pisciotta - men’s and women’s hairdressers’guild

    Jesus has arrived in the courtyard of the Sanhedrim and He is in chains as He was a dangerous murderer. A woman recognizes Pietro and she accuses him of being part of Jesus’ Disciples. Like the Master predicted, Pietro repudiated him three times, while a cock was singing. It is a bitter scene taken by the Gospel because on the one hand there is Jesus that is sorrowful about Pietro’ s behaviour and on the other hand there is the memory of him referring to Jesus’ prediction and that drives Him to a bitter weeping. The group is assigned to the men’s and women’s hairdressers’ guild.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    8th group:
    Jesus in front of Herod

    Work by Baldassare Pisciotta - fishmongers’guild

    Baldassarre Pisciotta and it shows Jesus while He is questioning by Herod, but He prefers to not answer to his questions. He is accused of being the Son of God and declare himself the King of Judeans. The work was first assigned to the millers, brokers and cereal riddlers and it is under the sponsorship of the fishmongers.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    9th group:
    The flagellation

    Work by unknown author - masons’ and stone-cutters’guild

    This is one of the groups whose author is unknown, but we know the name of the people that have restored it in the space of these years. The last intervention The last intervention goes back to 1998. This group is attended by the masons’ and stonecutters’ guild. It represents Jesus, that is barbarously whipped. The pillar to which He is gagged has been shown during a manifestation in the Lenten period that enjoys a tourist circuit whose aim is to make visible jewels of ancient workmanship, that are visible only during the procession on Good Friday.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    10th group:
    The crowning of thorns

    Work by Antonio Nolfo and reconstruction by Giuseppe Cafiero - bakers’guild

    After the flagellation, Jesus is again an object of scorn from the Roman soldiers, that twisting a crown of thorns and they put it on His head. Furthermore, instead of a sceptre, they put a cane and a red mantle. This group was made by an unknown author and it was assigned to the bakers’ guild, that join the millers, an almost extinct category.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    11th group:
    Ecce Homo

    Work by unknown author - shoemakers’ and shoe manufacturers’ guild

    The Sacred Group represents Christ’s figure, keeping in front of the enraged people with the words “Ecce Homo”, that mean “Ecco l’Uomo”. Pontius Pilate, in order to respect an ancient Jewish tradition, during the Easter period, used to allow people to choose which sentenced had to be bestowed. The incited crowd chose, as we know, the criminal Barabba. Pontius Pilate knew that Christ was innocent, but he left He was sentenced as well, and he washed his hands of it. The group is assigned to the shoemakers’ guild. The balcony in the middle of the statuary complex has been realized in 1852 and it is expression of the flourishing art of the goldsmiths in Trapani.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    12th group:
    The sentence

    Work by Domenico Nolfo - butchers’ guild

    The group, assigned to the millersand butchers, shows the moment when Pontius Pilate washes his hands and gives Jesus to His executioners, after that the crowd shout His sentence loud. Jesus is kept in chains by a soldier, while a tribune keeps the board with the notice I.N.R.I.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    13th group:
    The ascent to the ordeal

    Work by unknown author - people’s guild

    This group of an unknown author has a very tormenting representation, because there are the bearers, tired because of the weight, and Jesus harassed because of the weight of His Cross, while He was ascending to the ordeal. It is the only group that is not assigned to a workforce, but it is assigned to the people, quoting a passage of the Gospel “and He was followed by a big crowd of people and women”.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    14th group:
    The undressing

    Work by Domenico Nolfo - guild of clothes and textiles

    After going up on Mount Calvary, Jesus, before His crucifixion, is undressed from His clothes, that fall down in tatters. The group was once assigned to the fruiterers’ guild, but the following notarial act gave it to the guild of clothes and textiles.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    15th group:
    The raising of the cross

    Work by unknown author and reconstruction by Domenico Li Muli - joiners’ and carpenters’ class

    The Sacred Group sees Jesus’ representation, hold to the Cross and, la ter, raised by two Judaeans and a Roman soldier under the order of a tribune. Assigned to the joiners’ and carpenters’ guild by a notarial act in 1620, the work is by an unknown author, but it was reconstructed by Dome nico Li Muli after the bombing of the Second World War.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    16th group:
    The wound at the chest

    Work by Domenico Nolfo and reconstruction by Giuseppe Cafiero - painters’ and decorators’ guild

    In this group Maria, Giovanni and Maria Maddalena are at the feet of the Cross while a soldier is running through Jesus’ tormented body by a further and useful gesture to verify His death. The group was realized by Domenico Nolfo with the reconstruction by Giuseppe Cafiero. Originally, it was assigned to the ropemakers’ and hemp workers’ guild, but they disappeared because of the economical crisis, that affected these two guilds during the postwar. Therefore, the group was assigned to the painters’ and decorators’ guild.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    17th group:
    The deposition

    Work by Antonio Nolfo and reconstruction by A. Fodale e L. Messina - tailors’ and paperhangers’ guild

    The “Mistere” shows the representation of Jesus’ deposition from the Cross and wrap ped in a white sheet. The Group is assigned to the tailors’ and paperhangers’ guild and, during the years, it has been restored many times. The last intervention ended in 2004 and it brought the statues to the original colour.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    18th group:
    The transport to the grave

    Work by Giacomo Tartaglia and reconstruction by Giuseppe Cafiero - salters’ guild

    The group is the representation of the transport of Jesus, died, to the grave. This is the largest group because the Virgin Mary, Magdalene, S. Giovanni, Giuseppe d’Arimatea and Nicodemo take Jesus to his last travel. The “mistere” is assigned to the salters’ guild, that replaced the coral cutters in 1790.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    19th group:
    Jesus in the grave

    Work by unknown author - pasta makers’ guild

    The Sacred Group, even if it is not really a group, but a simulacre, was assigned to the pasta makers, and it shows an urn with Jesus without life inside. In the past the simulacre was assigned to the direction of the S. Michele’s Confraternity, but because of the high costs of management, it was given to the pasta makers.

  • Processione dei Misteri
    20th group:
    Our Lady of sorrows

    Work by Giuseppe Milanti - waiters’, confectioners’ and bartenders’ class

    Our Lady of Sorrows’ simulacra closes the Procession of “Misteri” and it is the portray of the racking pain of all the mothers for the loss of a son. Unlike the other groups, it goes along the streets of the town under an elegantly decorated baldachin and it is assigned to the waiters’, drivers’ and confectioners’ direction.