On 1 May 2014 and the whole of Sardinia Cagliari celebrated the feast of 358th Ephisius .
An intense moment of devotion , faith, culture and ancient traditions that come together in a folk festival that has no equal in the world.
Efisio , and Patron Saint of Sardinia , born in the East , he lived at the time of the Emperor Diocletian in the third century . A.D. and as a soldier he was sent to the island to persecute Christians . According to tradition , however, that one night, hearing a voice and seeing a cross shining in the sky appear , Ephisius converted to Christianity and became the defender, disobeying the orders of Diocletian which he commanded the martyrdom which took place on January 15, 303 AD in the prison of Nora.
Only after the terrible plague of 1656 the anniversary of his death , already the object of worship and celebration, acquired the solemnity and pomp that still characterize it. The dramatic situation and the loss of so many lives umanespinse the Sardinian population to unite in prayer asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Bonaria and of the Holy Martyr Ephisius , the protector of the ancient city of Cagliari.
Today, as then, in gratitude for the health regained , the city of Cagliari and the whole island, with a solemn ceremony , tracing each stage of the Martyrdom of the Holy Cagliari .
E ‘for more than 300 years in fact, that every 1st of May, the Sardinian population accompanies his patron saint in this traditional and original procession , retracing the route that the prison in which he was imprisoned in the place of martyrdom comes to Nora , and then return to his Church Stampace where his relics are still preserved .
The parade is gorgeous. Consisting of 3,500 people in costume and coming from Campidano from Gallura , dall’Ogliastra from Sulcis from Logudoro and Barbagia and accompanied by more than 200 people at the turn divided into three main groups of Campidanesi , and of the Militia of the Caretaker , as well as the honor guard of Mazzieri municipal dell’AlterNos , the clergy, the Representation of the Army and Carabinieri in full uniform, also all on horseback .
One of the most striking is the ceremonial investiture with gold and precious trappings with which the saint is richly prepared for his journey . Everything is perfectly organized and planned in every detail, even the choice of the oxen that will drive the Chariot of the saint and their precious ornaments deliberately kept hidden until May 1st . However, the only way to capture the best majestic solemnity of this event is to join the active participation of the entire population of Sardinia in celebrating the greatness of his patron saint .
The Confraternity is a secular association and popular, among the oldest of Cagliari , established by papal bull by Pope Paul III in 1539. The venue was and still is the church of Ephisius in the district of Lower Stampace . This includes one hundred and fifty registered members, divided into two branches: male and female.
The members of the Guardianìa are also called by the people ” Is Dottoris ,” because in the past were part of notable citizens , and have the role of escort of honor of the saint. The Third Guardian is the representative of the festival and the main responsible for its organization .
The Alter Nos is the character that represents the Authority , and the ceremony symbolizes the official public thanksgiving to the Saint. Often it is a councilor or councilor delegated by the Mayor. He wears the Golden Fleece , a solid gold medallion donated in 1679 by Charles II , King of Sardinia and of Aragon.
The three statues
The statues kept in the church of the Holy Stampace are three . The oldest time (sixteenth century) is called ” Sant’Efis sballiau ” or ” Ephisius wrong” because it presents the cross imprinted in his left hand instead of the right. The second ( seventeenth century) is the one that appears in public in the Festival in May, where the saint is depicted as a young Spanish aristocrat , with a mustache and goatee. The third was built in the eighteenth century by the sculptor Giovanni Antonio Lonis , and it shows in the Holy Roman military dress . is that the statue is taken in procession on Easter Monday .
The parade is open from May 1 traccas , oxcarts festively decorated . At the festival usually involving twenty wagons from the district of Cagliari. The following are the folk groups in costume , walking, singing or reciting the prayers of the religious tradition of the island , the goccius . Behind the folk groups parade horses.
Open the Knights of Campidano, riding horses adorned with ribbons and rosettes. Then it was the turn of the militiamen , armed with musket and saber . The procession on horseback continues with the body of Guardianìa , parading in black tailcoat , cylinder and blue band at the hips . In the first row , the Third Guardian holding the Banner of the arch . In top hat and tails , with a tricolor flag on the sides , the proceeds Alter Nos, representative of the Mayor of Cagliari.
Then a procession of members of the Arch of the Banner , introduced by a brother holding a crucifix of 700. Two brothers , called the ” Collateral ” , have a duty to stand at the side of the chariot throughout the parade route , and open the door when he stops to allow the faithful to file within flowers , offerings, votive offerings and supplications .
The arrival of the chariot with the statue is announced by the sound of launeddas . The chariot is pulled by imposing a yoke of oxen decorated with flowers and colored mantles and conducted by Su Carradori . By way of Rome, in front of the stage where they sit authorities , the chariot of the saint goes on a carpet of petals (sa ramadura ) , hailed by the sirens of ships docked at the port . is a very exciting time , especially for the intervention of the crowd that comes close to the Holy request for a pardon . So the coach continues its journey towards Nora accompanied by the faithful who have vowed to take the path on foot.
Check in Georgie Ephisius the church of the chariot is replaced and are made to wear the Holy traveling clothes .
La Maddalena Beach, procession along the provincial road until the junction with Golden Fruits and park with outdoor Mass in the square opposite the Church of Ephisius Su Loi .
Resuming the journey up to the Villa d’Orri in the chapel where the property of the Marquis of Villahermosa is celebrated a Mass in commemoration of the dead .
Blessing and departure for Sarroch place where the saint spent the night in the church of the same name .
On the afternoon of May fishermen accompany the statue in the seaside village of Georgie and the rest is done here in the church family Ballerò . The jewels are removed and proceed to the change of clothes, replaced by more simple . The statue is transhipped on a chariot, he said ” chariot of the country .” So you go up to Maddalena Beach, where the faithful flock from nearby Capoterra ( formerly called Villa Ephisius ) . The third stage is carried out in the locality called ” Su Loi ,” with the celebration of a Mass .
At dusk the procession arrives at the Chapel of the prestigious Villa d’Orri missing the Marquis of Villa Hermosa , where it is celebrated the Eucharistic blessing . At the end of the procession resumed the trip and get to Sarroch. The chariot is accompanied to the church of Santa Vittoria, where a solemn mass is celebrated , and here takes place overnight.
On May 2, the procession arrives at Villa San Pietro , stage introduced during the festival in 1943 , and subsequently in Pula . The chariot arrives around noon welcomed by civil and religious authorities . On the bridge called ” On Rondo ” Alter Nos entrusted to the Mayor of Pula the task of continuing the festivities. Is then celebrated a solemn Mass in the church of San Giovanni Battista. A stop in front of the cemetery and another in front of the church of San Ramon and the saint is taken over dall’Arciconfraternita and escorted to Nora , where he arrived around 21 . So the statue is placed in a niche.
Throughout the day of May 3, takes the commemoration of Martyr with masses and functions. At 18, the procession takes place along the coast, during which the Holy abandon the chariot and is transported back to revisit the place of his martyrdom .
On May 4 is the day of return , and the ritual is repeated leg .
Departure to Villa San Pietro .
Procession, Mass and departure to Pula municipal authorities, the Confraternity and the faithful are waiting for the Holy begin the procession through the village .
Mass and lunch .
Celebration of the Mass before the start of the simulacrum for Nora.
Feast in front of the statue to commemorate the dead.
Stop at the cemetery to commemorate the dead.
Benediction in the Church of St. Raymond .
Departure for Nora , stop the statue next to the command of the Navy, lowering of the flag and then leave for Nora for the celebration of the Holy Mass .
Mass until 11:00 am celebrated by the diocesan ordinary air.
Procession with the statue along the path that leads to the ruins of Nora and then return to the beach.
Mass and departure to Pula .
From Pula after Mass to get to Cagliari at around 22:30 .
Afternoon from the 5th to 25th day novena in honor of the saint.
On May 22 you spend 40 hours of veneration of the saint and on this occasion it will read the rosary spanning the entire life of Ephisius .
On May 25, officially closes the calebrazione holiday in honor of Ephisius .