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Église clunisienne de “Santa Maria in Calvenzano” – Vizzolo Predabissi (Milano)

 

Cette église a été bâtie au Moyen-Âge par les moines clunisiens, entre la fin du XIe et le début du XIIe siècle.

Mais ce que nous voyons aujourd’hui recouvre en réalité deux autres églises qui lui ont été antérieures. Dès la fin de l'époque romaine tardive se trouve à cet endroit une très petite chapelle (une “cella memoriae”), qui rappelle le lieu d’une mort ou abrite la tombe d’un martyr. Elle est découverte au cours des fouilles effectuées de 1994 à 1996 et date, selon les études, du IVe siècle.

A également été retrouvée une petite église qui était orientée, comme les église d’Orient, à l’ouest - et non pas à l’est, comme toutes les églises à partir du VIe siècle.

Au cours du IXe siècle est bâtie une seconde église, légèrement plus grande, à l’emplacement de la “cella memoriae”, avec cette fois une abside à l’est. Cette église, dédiée à Marie, et les terres environnantes appartenaient à des vassaux de l’archevêque de Milan ; on a retrouvé l’acte de donation de l’église Sainte-Marie à l’abbaye de Cluny.

Une fois arrivés, les moines décident de rebâtir une église pour leur communauté, dont l’effectif reste faible - on suppose entre trois et cinq individus. Les moines de Cluny consacrent leur vie à la prière; ils ne travaillent pas, les donations leur permettant de faire appel aux serfs. Ils ont donc besoin d’une église permettant le culte durant toute une journée.

La construction débute par l’abside et se poursuit par les travées, recouvrant ainsi la totalité de la deuxième église - celle de Sainte-Marie - qui recouvrait elle-même la “cella memoriae”.

Présentons maintenant cette église clunisienne que nous admirons aujourd’hui ! Elle est de pur style roman, avec trois nefs et un ensemble de piliers larges et étroits alternés.

La première caractéristique de cette église est le matériau utilisé dans le bâtiment : la brique, dite “de réemploi”, qui peut être considérée comme une sorte de recyclage des temps anciens. Sa seconde caractéristique est ”l’opus spicatum”, c’est-à-dire la disposition des briques en arêtes de poisson ; ce style de construction est à la fois une décoration et aussi une réutilisation des briques provenant de différentes constructions antérieures ou d’éboulis.

Deux programmes iconographiques attirent l’attention : celui du portail et celui de la fresque de l’abside.

La clef de lecture du programme du portail se situe sur la voussure sculptée du tympan : à droite, l’Homme, de la bouche duquel sort un sarment de feuilles, de fruits et une corne d’abondance (qui évoque la bien connue symbolique romane de l'Arbor Vitae ) ; et à gauche, la Bête, qui tient un rameau sec et sans fruit. L’Homme est le symbole du Bien, la Bête du Mal, et, au Moyen-Âge aussi, la droite était la part du Bien et la gauche celle du Mal: “ll est assis à la droite du Père”. 

Les scènes de l’enfance de Jésus commencent elles aussi à droite et non à gauche, contrairement au sens de lecture qui nous est habituel .La fresque de l’abside est composée de plusieurs scènes. On date cette fresque du XIVe siècle, ce qui nous empêche de savoir si quelche chose avait été peint auparavant. La scène principale est la seule à avoir été préservée par le passé: à partir du XVIIe siècle, les fresqu es ont été recouvertes de crépi et on voit aujourd’hui les dommages causés par l’installation d’un grand tableau représentant Notre Dame de l’Assomption.

La scène principale représente le Christ qui couronne sa Mère, la Vierge Marie : un sujet très rare à l'époque romane, mais bien plus commun à partir du XIIe siècle.

Autour d’eux, quatre saints : à partir de la gauche, saint Jean l’Évangeliste, que l’on peut reconnaître grâce au Livre, où est écrit le Prologue de son évangile ; l’archange Gabriel, qui porte l’étendard des messagers (il a porté à la Vierge le message de la naissance de Jésus). En continuant vers la droite, nous trouvons l’archange Michel, qui tue avec sa lance le dragon et a en main le globe avec la croix, symbole de l’univers soumis au Christ. Le dernier, à droite, saint Jean-Baptiste, qui tient un cartouche avec les mots qu’il a prononcés et qui est habillé d’une fourrure de chameau. Au-dessus de Marie et du Christ, quatre petits anges tiennent le drap.

Sous cette scène, une rangée de personnages et de prophètes de l’Ancien Testament : chacun est reconnaissable à son cartouche. A droite, le roi David avec la couronne et la harpe (il a été le compositeur des Psaumes). Plus à gauche, Moïse. La distribution des personnages révèle avec clarté la source d'inspiration byzantine-italienne du sud de l'artiste, qui nous est inconnu.

Encore au-dessous, au centre, saint Pierre et saint Paul, les deux saints protecteurs de Cluny ; à gauche, un saint franciscain (il est habillé en marron, pas en noir, qui la couleur des vêtements des clunisiens). À gauche, probablement un saint clunisien, peut-être un abbé.

(Maria Teresa Sapienza - Emanuele Dolcini - Cristophe Voros)

 

Gran_Bretagna

The Cluniac Church of Santa Maria in Calvenzano – Vizzolo Predabissi (Milano)

This church was built in the Medieval Times, between the end of the 11th century and the first half of the 12th century by Cluniac Monks. But what we see today covers two churches which were built in previous times.           

A small chapel called a “memorial cell” existed on this site from the late antique period; it marked the place of death or the tomb of a martyr. It was discovered during the excavations made between 1994 and 1996, and dates back to the 4th century according to academics.

A small church was also found which lies facing west, and not facing east as is the custom with all churches dating from the 6th century onwards, and as was already in use in the Oriental Church. Over the course of the 9th century a slightly larger church was built on top of the previous “memory cell”, which had the apse facing east.

Both this Church, which was dedicated to Saint Mary, and the land surrounding it belonged to vassals of the Archbishop of Milan. A document has been found showing that the church of Saint Mary was donated to the Abbey of Cluny. The monks arrived and decided to build a Church for their community, which was made up of just a few monks at the time.

The Cluny monks consecrated their lives exclusively to prayer, they didn't work as donations allowed them to have servants who worked for them. They therefore needed a church which could allow them to pray all day. They began the building with the apse and continued with the nave until they had completely covered the second church, that of Saint Mary, which had already covered the “memory cell”.

We are now talking about this Cluniac church which we can still see today. It is a Roman church with 3 naves and a series of columns which are alternated strong and weak. There are two characteristics to this church: the stones used in the construction of the bricks, which was a sort of recycling during ancient times and the laying of the bricks in a herringbone pattern. This pattern was used not only to decorate the building but also to reuse different types of bricks recuperated from previous buildings which had either collapsed or which had fallen into disuse .

There are two important cycles of images to be observed, the portal over the door and the fresco of the apse. The key to reading the portal can be found in the central sections, on the right Man who has a shoot in his mouth with leaves and fruit and “horns of plenty” (a Roman symbol of the Tree of Life), on the left a beast holding a dry branch which bears no fruit. Man is the symbol of good, the beast evil. During medieval times “good” lay to the right while evil lay to the left. (sit at the right hand of the Father) : the scenes depicting Christ as a child also begin from the right, and not from the left as one would expect when reading a text.

The apse fresco depicts more than one scene and dates from around the middle of the 14th century, it is not known if there was a fresco prior to this date. The main scene is the only one which remained untouched over the course of time. Starting from the 17th century the frescoes were plastered over and today we can see the damage done by a large marble frame which held a painting which depicted the Assumption of the Virgin,

In the main scene we can see Christ crowning his Mother, the Virgin Mary, which is rare in Roman art and is not usually seen until around the late 13th century.

There are four saints surrounding the two central figures, beginning from the left we can see St John who can be identified by the Book he is holding with the Prologue to his Gospel, the Archangel Gabriel who is carrying a messenger's standard (he is considered the most important messenger as he brought news to Mary of the birth of Jesus). Continuing towards the right we have the Archangel Michael, who is killing the dragon and holds a “crucified world”, a sphere with a small cross on the top of it which symbolizes the universe obedient to Christ. The last Saint on the left is St John the Baptist who holds a scroll with words that he spoke, and is dressed in a camel's hair cloak. Above Maria and Jesus are four small angels which are holding a fabric drapes. 

There are a series of characters from the Old Testament under this scene: each one is recognizable by the words written on his scroll: to the right is King David with his crown and harp (he was the composer of the psalms). Further to the left is Moses. The position of the characters clearly shows the influence of Southern Italian and Byzantine art

Further under still, in the centre are St Peter and St Paul, the two patron Saints of Cluny. To the left we can see a Franciscan monk (his habit is brown and not black as are the habits of the Cluniac Monks) To the left is probably a Cluniac Saint, maybe an Abbot.      (Translated by Rachel O'Brien)

 

 

doncarlo1

La comunità di Vizzolo Predabissi si è ritrovata giovedì 30 aprile 2015 per pronunciare un nuovo grande "grazie!". E' quello a don Carlo Grammatica (1928-2015), primo parroco di Vizzolo, scomparso pochi giorni fa all'età di 86 anni. Erano in cinquecento fra le colonne della basilica a salutarlo in mezzo a tutti i semi di umanità da lui coltivati: sacerdoti, famiglie, associazioni, espressioni le più varie di ciò che si chiama "impegno". Con loro, idealmente, il cardinale arcivescovo di Milano Angelo Scola, che ha fatto avere alla comunità un messaggio nel quale si unisce al cordoglio per un sacerdote che ha speso ben sessanta anni, dall'ordinazione sacerdotale avvenuta nel 1954, al servizio della Chiesa ambrosiana. Per i vizzolesi don Carlo Grammatica significa nascita della parrocchia. Fu lui, nel 1965, ad essere letteralmente "acclamato" primo parroco allorché finì quel legame di Vizzolo con Melegnano (Vizzolo non aveva il sacerdote residente) instaurato sotto remoti cieli medievali. Dobbiamo risalire addirittura al 1442 per trovare l'origine dell'accorpamento ecclesiastico dei due comuni. Don Carlo significa intuizione delle potenzialità storiche e artistiche della basilica di Calvenzano. Quando nel 1965 e fino al 1986, per ben 21 anni, rimase in paese, la parrocchia era ancora quella di San Pietro e Paolo nella zona "storica"; ma don Grammatica avviò l'interessamento per un restauro decisivo di Calvenzano e prese i primi contatti con l'ospedale Predabissi di Vizzolo - proprietario della basilica - per vedere di riportarla al culto regolare. Don Carlo ha significato fondazione dell'Agesci, con gli scout locali; dell'Avis, delle associazioni per il sostegno ai disabili; ha convinto molte famiglie ad aprirsi all'esperienza dell'adozione o all'affido di figli non biologici. Se un funerale può dare il senso di una continuità, di una presenza che continua a ispirare, questo è stato senza alcun dubbio quello di don Carlo Grammatica a Calvenzano. Si può anche chiamarlo Spirito; presenza "diversa", di ciò che è Visibile in un altro modo. "Impetriamo tre doni da don Carlo - ha osservato il vicario episcopale monsignor Luigi Mascheroni - la pace; la missione e lo Spirito". Grazie don Carlo!

(e.d.)

 
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