Triennial Festival Revisited at San Cassiano

Many religious festivals in Italy operate on a triennial basis; that is they occur on a large scale every three years. I suppose this underlines the mystery of the Holy Trinity: three-in-one and one-in-three. San Cassiano’s festa Del Crocifisso is an example of a triennial religious festival.

I have covered this festival for last year at

It takes place in one of the most beautiful romanesque churches of the Lucchesia with extraordinary sculptures loaded with differently interpreted symbolisms by various scholars.

The chess board clearly represents the battle between good and evil:

There is plenty more of interest both inside and outside this beautiful church:

Looking back into my photographic archive I note that I was there ten years ago when all these pictures were taken:

The climax of the ceremony is when the crucifix comes gently down a specially-built ramp from above the altar where it has been placed.

The descent from on high is, of course, meant to symbolise the incarnation of God in the figure of his Son Jesus Christ, who become a man.

It’s also ‘Ecce homo’, (here is the man) as Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea says (in St John’ gospel) to the mass of people in front of him when he has had Jesus flagellated. Pontius thought this was good enough punishment but the high priest wanted more and Jesus was crucified.

After the religious part of the ceremony and the solemn procession beating the bounds of San Cassiano, the whole village was treated to a concert by the excellent Corsagna ‘G. Verdi’ band.

I hope I’ll still be here to celebrate and photograph the SS Crocifisso festival when it next comes round in 2017. It’s truly the most spectacular event in our parish!


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