28 January 2010
The Festival of Sainte Dévote
Yesterday was the second day of the Fête de Sainte Dévote, patron Saint of Monaco. Here you see H.S.H. Prince Albert II leaving the Cathedral on le rocher after the Pontifical Mass. To the left, wearing the Mitre, is the Archbishop of Monaco, Monseigneur Bernard Barsi.
Following this mass there was a procession through the town which we'll see tomorrow and over the following few days.
According to legend, on the 27th January in the year 304, a boat from Corsica landed on the coast guided by a dove. In it lay the body of a young Christian martyr. Discovered by local fisherman, she became the patron saint of Monaco and a chapel was built on the spot - the beautiful Church of Saint Dévote - which stands near Port Hercule. The relics of Sainte Dévote were enshrined within its walls and each year on the 27th January, religious ceremonies are held throughout the Principality in honour of its patron saint. On the evening of the 26th the Royal family burn a fishing boat on the port, from which a white dove is released. This is known as the 'burning of the boat' and is a tradition much looked forward to each year. This is followed by fireworks. You can see a sculpture of Sainte Dévote by clicking HERE.
The second day, which is the one we are taking part in, features this Mass, and then during the procession, we'll see the relic of Saint Dévote. Do come back tomorrow.
PS. Apologies if you were expecting the visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. It's just that I drove into Monaco yesterday and suddenly remembered it was Fête day and so I wanted you to see photos that are current - aren't women allowed to change their mind? We'll go back to the villa on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat eventually.