The Saint Sofia Church

309.1 The Saint Sofia Church 1The Italian Region of Marche possesses one municipality of 35000 residents. It’s called the Municipality of Osimo and it is located in the centre of the region and more precisely in the province of Ancona. This place is rich in history like any other place in Italy. When you are there you will stumble upon ancient Roman remains and ruins as well as buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Municipality of Osimo is one of the significant economic and producing centres. Moreover, it’s famous for being a cultural, tourist and educational hub.

309.1 The Saint Sofia Church 2Speaking about the town and villages which Osimo is dotted by, we should mention the 19th century village of Campocavallo in the first place. It’s a tiny settlement whose inhabitants are hardly 3000 in number. The picturesque settlement is situated in the wide plain which is crossed by the Musone River and practically, its main vocation is agriculture. It’s also on the crossroads of communication routes connecting Osimo, Recanti, Loreto, Jesi, etc.

309.1 The Saint Sofia Church 3When it comes to Campocavallo, we should also mention that this place is very particular because since June 16, 1892 the image of Virgin of Sorrows has been making wonders and miracles and it’s always been worshiped by locals. That’s why a magnificent Shrine dedicated to Holy Mary was erected only with donations from all over the world. The Holy Place was opened for worship at the beginning of last century (more precisely in 1905). It became an important place of faith in central Italy in the very beginning. An interesting fact is that the Shrine is only 12 kilometres far away from Loreto where the Holy House of Nazareth is kept. Just a quick note here. The Holy House of Nazareth is the place where Virgin Mary was born and lived. This is also where the Annunciation (i.e. the announcement of the Incarnation by Angel Gabriel to Mary) was made.

309.1 The Saint Sofia Church 4Campocavallo of Osimo is famous for its Harvest Festival (or the Sheaf-of-Grain Festival) that has taken place on the first Sunday of August annually since 1939 (without any exception) and the tradition has been passed down through the generations. The ancient craft of using sheaves of grain is in the centre of the feast. They are used for the creating and representing of various small models of holy buildings and religious symbols every year, some of them being the Bethlehem in the State of Palestine, Fátima in Portugal, Lourdes in France, St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, Saint Vasily the Blessed Cathedral in Moscow, Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre in Paris, Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Częstochowa in Poland, Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Luján in Buenos Aires, Altötting in Germany, Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as holy buildings in Padua, Venice, Pomepii, Assisi and many, many others (the list is too long). A great part of them are housed in the local museum of Campocavallo.

309.1 The Saint Sofia Church 5A certain holy shrine is chosen every year and its small model is created from the sheaves of grain, as I mentioned above. The latter is carried in procession by local farmers along the streets of the village on the day of the celebration itself and the final destination of the sheaf-of-grain model is the Sanctuary of Osimo. Thus locals express their gratitude to Virgin Mary for the harvest of the fields through the year.

309.1 The Saint Sofia Church 6This very important tradition has been continued by our capital in 2016, this way keeping the values of religious beliefs and the art of the Region of Marche. What do I mean? This year’s religious symbol chosen by the locals of Campocavallo is Sofia’s second oldest church which dates back to the 6th century, i.e. Chiesa di Santa Sofi (Saint Sofia Church) in Sofia.

It has been made of sheaves of grain by 200 residents of Campocavallo and it has been sent to Sofia for today’s celebrations dedicated to the Day of Sofia, i.e. September 17. 🙂

Happy Day of Saint Sofia to all of us who love our capital. 🙂

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