Chiesa monumentale di Longarone - EN
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THE PARISH CHURCH - LONGARONE
On 9th October 1963, a huge compact mass caved in from the Mount Toc, flowing into the artificial catchment basin of Vajont. Two of the three waves remained into the valley between the Toc and Mount Borgà, sweeping away some districts of Friuli and the building site of the dam; the third wave overflowed the capacity, flinging on the area of River Piave. In less than ten minutes, more than one thousand and nine hundred (1900) people died. The new church of Longarone is the symbol of the renaissance of that tragedy and for this reason it is “monumental”, that is to say it is the warning and the recall to the supreme value of life that has to be safeguarded in every circumstance.
The fundamental idea of the Parish Church of Longarone is the “rise towards the Golgotha”.The task of the architect Giovanni Michelucci (Fiesole 1891 – Florance 1990) had, on one hand , to correspond to the new communitarian conception and to the plan of the council and, on the other hand, he had to build a “monument of admonition” which had to be witness of a tragedy and at the same time the testimony of the victims and the place of social and spiritual resetting. The two empty spaces full of symbols. The Via Crucis starts symbolically from the basement area, with same remains of the previous sacred building which has disappeared. Then it rises along the plates which have the names of victims of Vajont and it goes on, always outside, along the cross. In this way you are on the upper part of the church where an amphitheatre can be described as an open area to the community. Then there is a similar volume, place of the tomb of Christ, around which the Christian assembly lies. The ellipse, which moulds the main area, allows the symbolism of the human participation to the meeting with God through the relation between the two fires of the figure. These fires are identifiable with the altar and with the metallic circle of the floor of the room towards which the rays converge.
The flight of steps completely envelops the whole space arriving under the organ, which lies behind the celebrant and near a crucifix which was dismembered during the tragedy.
On the right of the altar, there is the pulpit, Fiabane’s work with the tabernacle and the holy water stoup. The last one receives people who enter from the main door, near the mutilated statue of the Blessed Virgin. If you go down, along the steps, you arrive in the rebirth room, passing near the chapel of the Saint Sacrament and near a wooden statue of Christ.
In a space, which reminds the foetus in the womb, there are the baptistery on the right and the confessional on the left, divided by the painting “Christ of Vajont” by Italo Pradella, coming from Longarone. Returning towards the space of the celebration, you can go up on the left thanks to a spiral staircase which leads to the upper level. Then there is the Museum of the Holy Ornament, belonging to the old church of Longarone, in which we can find some remains of seven altars, an old book and every kind of fragments. These things are exhibited with some pictures of the destroyed church along the walls of as corridor which leads to the chapel dedicated to Father Massimiliano Kolbe.
Interesting is also the play and the heights of volumes suggested by the designer.
DEVOTION AND PILGRIMAGES
The new church of Longarone has taken the devotion of the Blessed Virgin, once belonging to the previous church. During the evening of 9th October 1982 the statue- which can be seen in the past, after being recovered near Fossalta.
Interesting are also two other destinations: Vajont valley and the cemetery of the victims of the catastrophe. To climb the first one you have to drive for abount 5Km along the SS 251 of Val di Zoldo and Valcellina, crossing the tunnels in the rocks and which can be seen from Longarone. If you want to realize what happened that night, the sight of the landside is more eloquent than any speech.
You can reach it through the “service area” which leads to the villages Pineda, Prada and Liron.
The cemetery lies in Fortogna, precisely in San Martino. The 1466 crosses (767 of them are nameless) are the symbols of the tragedy.
In the Western portal (high on the left) a brick f the holy door of Saint Peters’ was set by Pope Pio XII at the end of the 1950 Jubilee and taken by Paolo VII at the beginning of the Hoy Year (1975) . It witnesses the particular bond of the building with jubilar anniversaries, in fact the first stone was blessed in 1975, ordinary Holy Year, while the consecration is dated 9th October 1983, extraordinary Holy Year of redemption, for the 1950th anniversary of the death and resurrection of Christ.
NEAR Longarone, in Roggia, traces of a Roman road and an ancient bridge of Muda Maè have been discovered.
We can admire Mazzolà’s palace (the name derives from a family coming from Venice, which built it in 1747) and today is the seat of the town all. Then there are the “Murazzi”, that is to say terracings of the end of the XVIII century. In this century Nicolò Cavalli (engraver), Pietro Gonzaga (stage-designer at the court of Catherine of Russia), Catterino Mazzolà (librettist even if Mozart) were born in Longarone. Castellavazzo was more important. “Castrum laebactium” was one of the first Latin place-name in Belluno to identify the Roman fortress which was on the spur (ideal position for the protection and the control of the area and for the trade along the River Piave). It was the seat of Piave, dedicated to St. Quirico and St. Giuditta and from 1100 it extended as far as Capodiponte, the present Ponte nelle Alpi.
At the end of the XVIII century Castellavazzo and Longarone are separated. Discoveries belonging to the Roman period are frequent. The most important is a solar clock, today kept in the town-hall and given by the “Magistri”. The inscription on the stone witness the Norian period (54-68 A.D.). Castellavazzo is famous for its stone, used also for the paving of the churchyard. If you climb the landslide, you can visit the small church of St. Antonio, built in 1870. the plan by Barcelloni Corte is now a monument to commemorate all the victims. Inside, there is a protective Christ by the sculptor Franco Fiabane.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING
The new Parish Church of Longarone moved its first official step on 5th February 1965, when the minister of works referred the rebuilding of all the public buildings, church included, to the institute for the development of social housing.
In 1964 a prefabricated church had been consecrated in front of the town-hall. The choice of the project is complex and a bit disrespectful of the opinion of the survivors.
The Ises decided to accept it in spite of the opinion of the majority of the parishioners. Michelucci himself tired to calm the down but eventually he was conquered by this work.
In October 1975 Ferraro’s Company of Pradua started the works, until November 1977. the first stone is blessed by Mons. Gioacchino Muccin Bishop of Feltre and Belluno on 9th October 1975, XII anniversary of the tragedy. In April 1981 the building is given to the parish without any Christian signs (the tabernacle, the steeple, the organ). The consecration is dated 1983. the continuous work caused a new problem. The internal room isn’t completely available, while outside only the bell- tower is the symbol of the sacred place. The upper basin is not available, either, owing to the climate. So the church but also the urban structure of Longarone has been and keeps being the origin of several perplexities. The “querelle” between the utopia of “the town like and where it was” and the new town- planning has broken the organic development plan. People have to live together with this work and have to make an effort of sympathy and adaptation which can lead to intimacy and spiritual elevation.
“the church has never had a particular artistic style but, according to the nature and people’s conditions and the need of the different rites, has grated every kind of artistic from of every age, to create an artistic treasure that has to be kept with care.
Also our art and that of all the different countries have to find freedom of expression in the church, on condition that it helps, with reverence and honour, the need of sacred building and sacred rites”.
Constitution in the sacred Liturgy “Sacrosantum Concilium” §§123