Falconara Albanese,  7 Ottobre 2005
Translated by Angelo Buffone


Byzantine Rite.

The Liturgy
First of all before we examine the Byzantine rite, and take a brief look at the architectural structure of the churches.


The Church Of The Madonna Of Buon Consiglio.
The external Architectural aesthetics of the church of the Madonna Del Buon Consiglio (Our Lady of good counseling), built in the 16th Century consists of a Sandstone construction with a dome-shaped apsidal section, on top of an lavish base, with an East facing door, a Byzantines custom. For many years the Church remained closed due to its unstable condition. After a long and painstaking period of restoration, the church has been re-opened to the public. Inside your attention is attracted by a baroque style Altar; The ceiling has been restructured in wood. The image of the Madonna is encompassed with an ornate frame, supported by two Angels. The religious feast takes place during the second Sunday in September. For this religious feast day, many Falconarese return to the Village. For a few years now all the Villagers who emigrated to the United States have organized their selves in making the trip back to the village for the solemn celebration to our Lady of Buon Consiglio.

The Church Of Castelluccio.
Built in 1544, Architecturally simply built, utilizing the outline of the rock outcrop on which the church stands. The Portico, together with the rustic structure above and the statue of the Madonna Assunta (Our Lady of Assumption) are the works of the local artisan (Carried out during the XVII & XVIII centuries). For a while this place was also a retreat for Hermits Monks until the end of the 1800 hundreds. The door to the Hermits retreat has recently been sealed. 
The Ferragosto festivities take place on the 15th of August, preceded by 15 days of Liturgical celebrations. To access the chapel a climb of 127 stone steps has to be negotiated. Near its summit a bell tower, turret shaped and built in 1757 is the main attraction, on one side of the rock face a niche has been carved out of the stone, where a statue of the Madonna Assunta took pride of place. The Statue had been carved out of black lava stone, her face and hands carved out of white stone. (The effort of a local artisan during the 1600). A Cross marks the summit of this rock outcrop.

The (Main) Church Of San Michele Arcangelo.
This Church is in via Skanderbeg and dates back to the 1600 hundred, the main door being built a year later in 1601. This Church is dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo. (the Archangel Gabriel, Patron Saint) The church is the custodian of paintings by the artist Pasqualetti, from the nearby village of Fiumefreddo (these paintings consist of: Our Lady of Sorrows, San Michele Arcangelo and San Francis of Paola). Also two processional statues are also to be found in this church. In the past 26 years the church has traversed back to the Byzantine rites. Internally the Church has been modified: Where once recesses to house statues of saints subsisted, these recesses have now been in filled and the statues of saints replaced with typical Byzantine Icons. The only remaining statue is the statue of Saint Francis of Paola, situated to the left of the Altar. The structure of the Altar has also changed significantly since the advent of the Byzantine Rite. Amongst the many new Icons, the Icon of San Attanasio a special gift from the Albanians of Santa Sofia d’Epiro, in twinning with Falconara.

The Church of Torremezzo.
The Church of Torremezzo is dedicated to S. Salvatore and Santa Teresina del Bambino (Baby Jesus) Gesù, this being a new church where you can admire the Apse written in Iconic (the works of a modern Albanian artist) and a painting of Santa Teresina from the modern artist, Tonina Garofalo of Fiumefreddo.


The Rite: 
The Greek Orthodox rite was upheld in Falconara until 1639, these dates are based on the manuscript accounts of Ferdinado Riggio whilst the scholar Rodotà maintains it was ‘till 1670. Giovan Battista Moscato writes, from 1448 to 1555, the people of Falconara had to make do without its religion, for 115 or so years, minister of either Greek or Latin denominations presided over the village religion. Catholicism then became the main stream religion and consequently the Greek/Byzantine rite died out. After these religious barren years, a long line of priests’ born in Falconara presided over the parish, ending in 1952, with the death of Bernardino Lupi. The Greek/Orthodox rite was restored in 1974, With the change of Dioceses from Cosenza to that of Lungro. 
(According to many scholars during this change to the Latin rite many customs and costumes of typical Albanian tradition were lost; another factor for the loss of these religious customs was geographical isolation, in particular the distance from other Albanians villages within Calabria. Some strange peculiarities of the Byzantine rite, some having a little “originality”, an example of this; a Byzantine priest can be married, but only if the marriage ceremony takes place before his ordainment. Other peculiarities are the long pause of anticipation during the Eucharist, a piece of bread is offered instead of the Host, after the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, the bride an groom break the glass in which the drank, as a symbol of the indissolubility of the marriage union. These various celebrations are carried out in Albanian or in the Greek language.
Mr. Fancesco Quaranta studied these various points of Ital-Greek wedding ceremony and noted that the breaking of the drinking cup was used as a symbol of well wishing to the bride and groom).


The Liturgy
Photographs showing the bishop dell'Eparchia di Lungro (Ercole Lupinacci, at the centre), the minister of "Papas" (Father Giuseppe Bellizzi, on the right) and the Deacon (Angelo Belluscio, on the left) taken during the procession of Madonna del Buon Consiglio a couple of years ago).

«Ingrandisci Foto»


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