Antiquity of Castelmonte
The Slavs, who had settled in the area and nearby districts during the 8th Century, used to call Castelmonte «The Ancient Mountain» and Mary «The Ancient Madonna» as they were in the habit of calling Cividale del Friuli «The Ancient Town» (Cividale = the Roman “Forum Julii”). Two documents, dated 1244 and 1247 respectively, relate the triumphant glory of the Shirine at that time. The Church of Santa Maria del Monte was then one of the most important and most affluent Churches of the extensive Patriarchate of Aquileia.
It goes without saying that Castelmonte, having been called «Ancient» in the 8th Century, must have had its origin well nigh the dawn of Christianity. It must be recognised as a «Tower of Strength» thanks to Our Lady’s triumph over ages of cruelty, unrest, persecution, wars and famine.
The crypt is the most ancient part of the Shrine and the first place of worship of the Madonna. Originally of modest dimensions, it was extended as far as the second arcade in 1954 and to the present pian in 1962. The group in wood of S. Michele che schiaccia il diavolo (St. Michael overwhelming the devil) dates from 1963: it reproduces an identical group which has existed for centuries and has been redone more than once.
Interior of the church
Our Lady’s Statue is the heart of the Shrine ‑ it is of the 15th Century and is made of stone: the quality of workmanship is the highest. It used to be called the «Madonna Bella» owing to her incomparable beauty and youthful expression; people, to‑day, call her the «Madonna Viva» because the expression of her face is both motherly and is exquisitely alive.
The main and the lateral altars are the work of two Venetian craftsmen of the 17th Century, in the neo‑classic style which was predominant at that time.
The ex‑voto: recently, the Philological Society (Friulana) has published a collection of the most remarkable and noteworthy ones.
Origin of Castelmonte
The Shrine of Castelmonte is very ancient ‑ it is the most ancient of ali the Shrines in the Venetian Region and ranks as one of the oldest pilgrimage‑centres of Christianity.
The origin of this most celebrated Shrine is lost in antiquity and the earliest evidence of its existence can be traced back to the 5th Century. The accidental discovery of two floors of «cocciopesto» of the 6th Century, brought about during the excavations for the enlargement of the Crypt, leaves no doubt that Castelmonte was inhabited since those remote times.
After the Council of Ephesus (431) solemnly proclaimed Mary as being the true «Mother of God» a fresh wave of fervent and heartfelt devotion to Our Lady swept the whole of Christianity. Castelmonte, being then within the boundaries of the vast and important Patriarchate of Aquileia, must have attracted a large crowd of pilgrims from that area which was already renowed for its devotion to Our Blessed Mother.
The Pilgrim’s house (Casa del Pellegrino)
Pilgrims can find hospitality in «The Pilgrim’s House» and the «Ristorante al Piazzale» (Restaurant in the Square), near the Shrine. Organizers of parties are requested ‑ for reasons of confirmation ‑to indicate well in advance the date and the number of pilgrims who intend to use them. Both are always open, even during the winter season.
Shrine – ++0432 731094 – fax ++0432 730150
e-mail – email@example.com
Pilgrim’s House – ++0432 731161 (fax)
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
pagina home: http://ristorantecastelmonte.it
Magna articoli religiosi – ++0432 730400 (fax)
e-mail – email@example.com
pagina home – http://www.magnancastelmonte.it
Santuario Beata Vergine
33040 Castelmonte (UD)