Saturday, June 9, 2018

Fiddling With Your Rosaries In Pompei*

Even on rest days, I try to get my 10,000+ steps and thus often go on walks from wherever we're camped. One day I headed north from Camping Spartacus--hoping to find the Leroy Merlin or a Decathlon or an Auchon--and was immediately engulfed by crowds of mostly older women, in black, chanting their Ave Marias and indeed fiddling with their rosaries; and also choking the vehicular traffic along the boulevard leading to the modern city of Pompei. Returning to the camper later I checked out the Days of Obligation and such but found little enlightenment. Some local observance, I surmised. However, on another walk, days later, after Amalfi, Vicki and I noticed a small crowd of well-dressed persons gathering outside the big church in Pompei, and, imagining we might witness another wedding, we ventured inside. We were stunned with the opulence and visual complexity of the interior of the church, just a parish church apparently, especially in view of is relative youth, having been built in the late 19th century.

Turns out it is a papal church of sorts, the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei. Read the Wikipedia article on the church and shrine and you will be amply repaid for your efforts. But wait, there's more. Much more. Especially read the article on Bartolo Longo, the former Italian nationalist/Satanic priest (I swear I am not making this up) who converted to Catholicism and breathed new life into the Marian and Rosary cults--just when the Church needed some new life--for which he was eventually made a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and even beatified, by the pope, in 1980, as the "Apostle of the Rosary." And built the church. All this with the "help" of a rich countess whom he later married but had a "continent" marital relationship. (Sure...). I triple-dog swear I am not making any of this up. Truth is so much stranger than fiction.... Anyhow, the church was impressive in its opulence.


Big Chair for Big Guy, just in case he shows up

Interesting colossal in-laid marble Rohschach slabs on
many of the piers

And mosaics everywhere

It was a very small wedding

Tower of the Shrine

Colossal ancient (?) fountain in a nearby park

Walking back along old Pompei's southern Necropolis

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