La B.V. di San Luca

La B.V. di San Luca

Friday, May 26th, 2017

I was looking at a Bologna website about what was happening in Bologna and I found the item below so I used part of it for the title.

The headline

B.V. stands for Beata Virgine. So it translates to “The Blessed Virgin of San Luca “goes down” into the city: the celebrations. This is a very old tradition. The first time was 5th of July 1433. But let’s go back even further – back to about 1150 when a Greek Hermit from a church in Constantinople, according to legend, had a vision of the Madonna telling him to take this icon, supposedly painted by Saint Luke. So, he essentially stole it and wondered around until he ultimately deposited it in a chapel atop the hill where it now rests for 51 weeks of the year.

The basic icon

The fancy version – guess some gold is needed to make it more dramatic

Now returning to 1433, Bologna had experienced continued rain which threatened to ruin crops and bring on a famine. Town elders decided that maybe the icon could help out so they decided to give it a shot and brought her down from the San Luca chapel into the duomo of the city, San Pietro. Miraculously the rains stopped. So, they’ve brought her down every year since. She comes from the current chapel along the longest portico in the world; 3796 meters long with 666 arches and 15 chapels along the way. According to legend it always rains on that day but I can absolutely testify that it did not rain yesterday, May 20th, when they brought her down. But hey, legends are legends and let’s not be picky. If they quit bringing her down God knows what devastation might befall the city.

The sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca



The start of the procession

And here comes the Madonna carried by 4 priests plus others carrying the canopy

As they are passing.

A large crowd following the Madonna procession.

You can make the 2.3 mile trek yourself if you come to Bologna. Some people do it regularly as exercise. It’s a nice view from the top and an interesting walk. Just don’t do it when the B.V. is coming down or returning.



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