The Custom of Vesting the Patronal Statue at San Remigio-Fosdinovo in Tuscany

Each year at the parish of San Remigio in the village of Fosdinovo in Tuscany has two celebrations to commemorate the memory of their patron, St. Remigio (St. Remigius). January 13 is the main feast day and October 1st is the day that recalls the translation of his relics. On the latter day the statue of the parish patron, always enshrined above the high altar, is vested in sacerdotal splendor, in antique vestments complete with a mitre and crosier.

Although St. Remigius (437-533) is more popularly remembered in France, he is an excellent patron and a powerful intercessor.  Those who know the history of France know well his important stature as a historical figure. He was the Bishop of Reims (where the kings of France were crowned), and is known as the "Apostle of the Franks." On Christmas Day in the year 496 he baptized King Clovis I, the King of the Franks, thus turning the tide and converting the Frankish Empire, the Kingdom of France. 

The interior of the church, in its Baroque splendor, can be seen below, with the altar decorated for the solemn feast day.  

The Roman Martyrology reads thus for the First Day of October:

"St. Remi, Bishop of Rheims and Confessor, who fell asleep in the Lord on January 13, and is particularly commemorated on this day [October 1st] because of the translation of his body."

Fosdinovo is a terrific place to visit, perched above the Ligurian Sea. It is a small village in northern Tuscany located very near to Pisa and very close to the marble quarries of Carrara. It is a quiet place where the Faith has flourished through the centuries. The Baroque church was likely built in the thirteenth century, under the care of the Bishops of Luni. 

The church structure has a single nave and a beautiful, elevated sanctuary with a variety of interesting side altars embellished in marbles. Naturally being so close to Carrara, the interior displays a variety of beautiful local marbles taken from the nearby quarries. The parish has a large reliquary that holds a relic of the saint, carried in procession on the feast day.  

Inside the church is a unique fourteenth-century funeral monument that honors the memory of Galeotto Malaspina (see below). This precious work of Gothic art depicts a carving of the deceased knight being invested in the presence of Christ, Our Lady, St. John the Baptist, St. Anthony of Padua, St. James, and the holy holders of the main orders of chivalry.

God bless this wonderful community for preserving their traditions and many thanks to the dear pastor, Fr. Emanuele Borserini, who is doing great things. The Faith lives!

Lastly, seen below, in January in commemoration of the Christmas season the walls of the sanctuary are draped in rich damask, a popular tradition in Italy that adds color and solemnity to the celebration. In regal splendor sunlight enters the clerestory windows above the sanctuary, illuminating the worship space on the morning of the feast.  


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