Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro

No stain can be mixed whit what is beautiful, no one can be filled with a good intention

By Comune di Ripacandida

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1540-1602) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The Church

Its title would trace the origins of the church of S. Maria del Sepolcro to the religious-political enterprises of the Middle Ages, to the Crusades. Indeed, there is an inaction given by the participation of local feudal lords in the third crusade, which is mentioned in the Catalog of Barons.

The church is next to the castle. It opens in the square, where the Lombards had erected the symbols of their religion, a column representing the sacred tree and an idol in the shape of a viper, which they maintained until their conversion to Catholicism in the eighth century.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1540-1602) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

In the inventory of Giambattista Rossi we read the origin of the church: “in the year 1540, at the prayer of the Clergy and people of the Land of Ripacandida, under the Bishop D. Giovanni Vincenzo Acquaviva, the two very ancient parishes of St. Nicholas were united and San Bartolomeo in a single Mother Church, called S. Maria del Sepolcro, situated in the middle of the Land of Ripacandida, where before there was a small church under the title of Saint Catherine Virgin and Martyr, known as the castle ”.

RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

It was embellished in 1602 by the archpriest Abbate D. Lorenzo de Leonibus who, on the door under a bas-relief representing the image of S. M. del Sepolcro, dictated this inscription:
"NON MACULA FUCO MISTUM NON MENTE REPLETUM NON CAPIT HAEC OMNES QUAE TIBI PORTA PATET MATER NAMQUE DEI TIBI QUAE SUPER EXTAT AMICE ET TUMULUM SERVAT PELLIT ET INDE MALOS 1602”. (No stain can be mixed with what is beautiful, none can be filled with good intentions. Not everyone can pass through this door that opens to you. The Mother of God who is affectionately above you and guards your mound drives the wicked out of here 1602)

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1540/1602) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The church was built at the highest point of the hill, above a small chapel dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, this in turn erected on an ancient temple dedicated to Jupiter.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1540-1602) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The church of S. Maria del Sepolcro is the largest of all the churches. It consists of three naves, supported by various columns and arches.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1540-1602) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

At the bottom, behind the present-day altar, was the chapel of S. Maria del Sepolcro

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1540-1602) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The aisles are covered with barrel vaults and lunettes. The central nave is made up of five arches. The aisles are all domed.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1618) by Giovanni Lorenzo Lioy e Faustina ZelonaComune di Ripacandida

On either side of the door there are two water bowls in pink marble of 1715. Immediately after the entrance, there is the chapel of St. Joseph, erected by the spouses Lioy in 1618. Today it is home to the baptismal font and has an altar dedicated to the Nativity

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1891) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The right aisle closes with a niche built in 1891 hosting the statues of San Donato V. and M. or San Donato Paesano, called San Donatello, protector of Auletta (SA).

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1500) by Catholic faithful of RipacandidaComune di Ripacandida

San Donato Paesano, called San Donatello. Created between the end of the 1600s and the beginning of the 1700s, the Saint, in his youthful appearance, is in a standing position. Uncovered, he wears a whitish tunic and a scapular. With his left hand he holds a volume and a long string. The right hand has advanced in an attitude of wonder.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1716) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The balustrade is delimited by a balustrade of 1716, in polychrome marble with 8 small columns on which are depicted scenes of the Passion, a heart pierced by seven swords, the Madonna at the Holy Sepulcher, Christ rising and the baptismal font.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1746) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The left aisle, which has five altars, closes with the chapel of the Sacred Heart, erected by the physicist Calandra in about 1650 and then restored in 1705. In the center stands the altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the left is placed the sepulcher of the archpriest Giambattista Rossi, similar to that of his brother don Giovanni Rossi in the church of San Giuseppe.

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro (1746) by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

The sepulcher forms a single body with the wall and bears a gold plaque with the inscription "Ossa Archipresbyteri Joannis Rossi". In the epitaph the archpriest is remembered for his integrity and for the foundation of the Teresian monastery: "A Dio ottimo massimo. Giovanni Battista Rossi, archpriest of this church, founder of the monastery of San Giuseppe and of the nuns of Santa Teresa, of these who are of God the fierce defender, a man of great deeds, a penitent for himself and for the world, adorned with life and death from divine gifts, he lived 46 years 7 months and 15 days. At Ripacandida, where he saw the first light, he closed the last day, October 25, 1746. Giovanni Battista Maria Araneo to the most affectionate and incomparable uncle, grateful and very considerate of his memory, the sepulcher placed for testamentary mandate ".

Church of Santa Maria Del Sepolcro by Vescovo G. V. Acquaviva d'AragonaComune di Ripacandida

Leaving the church, go back along the seventeenth-century "pincer" staircase, made of local stone and bounded by a stone balustrade. The staircase surrounds the entrance to the crypt where the priests were buried, bearing the admonition engraved on the portal that death does not spare anyone, be they popes, kings, ecclesiastical canons or friars:
"Evil death does not exclude anyone. With his plowshares he puts popes, kings, bishops, and friars on a par. "

Credits: Story

Credit: Arch. Giuseppe Sarcuno

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