Il-Vari Tal-Ġimgħa L-Kbira F'Malta

L-Arti, it-Tradizzjonijiet u l-Fidi fil-festi tar-Randan Imqaddes

Il-Parroċċa tal-Birgu kienet ilha mwaqqfa ħafna snin qabel il-wasla tal-kavallieri f'Malta u żgur li r-residenti ta' dawk iż-żminijiet bikrin kienu jaqdu d-doveri reliġjużi tagħhom. Madankollu, ftit għandna tagħrif dwar dan il-perjodu bikri.  Imma kif il-kavallieri ħadu l-pussess ta' din il-belt fl-1530, l-importanza tagħha kibret ħafna speċjalment minħabba l-fatt li l-Knisja ta' San Lawrenz saret il-knisja Konventwali tal-Ordni. Ma jistax jonqos li l-kavallieri, bħala l-kustodji ta' l-artijiet imqaddsa kienu jagħmlu funzjonijiet kbar f'Hamis ix-Xirka u fil-Ġimgħa l-Kbira. Żgur li kienu strumentali biex nislu fil-Maltin ta' dak iż-żmien qima speċjali lejn is-sepulkru mqaddes. 


Il-Purċissjoni tal-Birgu toħroġ mil-knisja ta' San Lawrenz Martri, mibnija bejn l-1680 u l-1697.   Hawnhekk huwa l-uniku lokal f'Malta fejn insibu  vari mlibbsa ħwejjeġ tal-bellus.  Fl-imgħoddi xi baħħara u negozjanti kienu impurtaw uħud min dawn il-vari (jew l-irjus u l-idejn u s-saqajn) direttament minn Spanja fejn din it-tradizzjoni kienet u għadha teżisti.  Id-data preċiża ta' meta bdiet din il-purċissjoni hija misteru għaliex ħafna mid-dokumenti relatati nqerdu fit-tieni gwerra dinjija meta ġġarfet is-sagristija u biċċa mill-oratorju tal-Fratellanza tal-Kurċifiss.  Fil-Birgu insibu is-sett tradizzjonali ta' tmien vari.

 
 

Il-Purċissjoni tal-Ġimgħa l-Kbira fil-Birgu

Il-Ġimgħa 14 ta' April 2017 fis-6.00pm

Lacrime - Antonio Miruzzi

 

L-Ort

Fil-Vari tal-Birgu, il-persunaġġi huma mlibbsa bi ħwejjeġ rikki tal-bellus u mżejna b'galluni tad-deheb. Ir-ras ta' Kristu fl-ort hija attribwita lil Melchiore Gafa', artist mill-Birgu li għex bejn l-1636-1678. Madankollu, sal-lum ma nstabet l-ebda evidenza li tipprova din l-ipotesi. Fil-fatt, esperti ohra f'dan il-qasam isostnu li hemm xebh kbir fix-xoghol ta wicc Kristu mal- Vari li hadem il-habsi Sqalli (c1700) ghall-Knisja Katidrali t'Ghawdex.

Iżda ta' min jgħid li dan l-aħħar, kien hemm min qabbel dan ix-xogħol artistiku ma dak ta' Giacomo Serpotta (1652-1732) skultur Palermitan li kien attiv ħafna fix-xogħol ta' l-istucco. L-anġlu sa qabel il-gwerra kien ta' Giovanni Darmanin u sar fl-1878, madankollu wara li ġġarraf fil-gwerra, ġie mibdul ma ieħor maħdum minn Giuseppe Caruana (il-marċjol) fl-1946. Is-salib f'idejn l-anġlu huwa tal-ebbanu.
In the Birgu set of statues , most of the figures are mannequins covered in garments made out of the finest velvet and embellished with gold tassels. The head of the figure of Jesus seen here is sculpted in wood and is widely thought to be the work of Melchiorre Gafa’ who hailed from Birgu and lived between 1636 and 1678. However recently, this artistic sculpture has also been linked to the work of Giacomo Serpotta (1652-1732),  a distinguished sculptor from Palermo Italy, who was quite active during the same period. The angel comforting Jesus is the work of Guzeppi Caruana from 1946. It replaced the former work by Giovanni Darmanin of 1878, which sadly,  was lost during the Second World War. The cross in the angel’s left hand is made out of ebony.
 
 

Din il-vara maħduma fl-injam minn Salvu Psaila fl-1831 hija meqjusa opra tal-arti u żgur li waħda mil-isbah vari tal-Birgu. Ta' min jgħid li qabilha kien hemm oħra ferm antika li kienet għadha teżisti sal-aħħar gwerra meta sfat meqruda.   Il-figura ta' Kristu ġiet iddekorata minn Dun Ġuzepp Calleja li ħareġ tajjeb il-kefrija tal-flaġellazzjoni. Aktar riċenti fl-1964, l-artist Censu Apap reġa dar u żeba' din il-vara.

Il-Marbut

This is a beautiful work in wood by sculptor Salvu Psaila from 1831. It is regarded as a work of art and certainly one of Birgu’s finest pieces.  It replaced  a similar and older statue of the Flagellation, which sadly, was also lost during the Second World War.  Fr Joseph Calleja, by means of his meticulous work on colouring this statue, managed to emphasise the sheer cruelty of the flagellation. The most recent restoration on the statue was performed by Censu Apap in 1964.

 

Ecce Homo

 

Bħall-Marbut, din il-vara tal-Ecce Homo inħaddmet fl-injam mill-iskultur Salvu Psaila fl-1831. Kristu jidher fil-forma tradizzjonali jiġifieri bil-qiegħda fuq kolonna, inkurunat bix-xewk bil-porpra fuq dahru u l-qasba f'idu.   Il-vara kienet ukoll dekorata minn Dun Guzepp Calleja. Fl-1978 ġiet irrestawrata minn Censu Apap. Ta' min isemmi li l-vara l-antika ta' qabel din, għadha miżmuma f'niċċa fil-Knisja tas-sorijiet ta' Santa Skolastika fil-Birgu.

Another of Salvu Psaila’s great works is this statue of ‘Ecce Homo’ seen here in its traditional form.  Jesus is sitting on a low marble pillar, crowned with thorns and holding a reed in his right hand.  This statue was also painted by Fr Joseph Calleja and then restored in 1978 by Censu Apap.  The statue that Psaila’s work replaced in 1831, managed to foil the ravages of the Second World War and is carefully preserved in a niche’ in another of Birgu’s churches, that of the Sisters of Saint Scholastica.

 

Ir-Redentur

 

Ir-Redentur tal-Birgu huwa xogħol sabiħ fil-kartapesta tal-1865 attribwit lill-istatwarju Karlu Darmanin għalkemm xi wħud jgħidu li r-ras, l-idejn u s-saqajn huma xogħol ta' zijuh Giovanni Darmanin.  Kristu huwa mlibbes libsa tal-bellus qed iġorr salib tal-ebbanu. Il-ħarsa ta' wiċċ Kristu tixhed niket u umilta' u tqanqal devozzjoni.

 

This paper-mache’ statue of the Redeemer is believed to be the work of Carlo Darmanin from 1865, although some historians claim that it might be the work of Carlo’s uncle Giovanni Darmanin. Christ is seen here falling under the weight of a large ebony cross and wearing the traditional red robe in rich velvet. The expression on Jesus’ face is one of great sorrow  and humility and thus attracts the attention of  numerous devout Catholics and worshippers.

 

Il-Veronika

 

Ftit li xejn nafu dwar din il-vara għajr li nġiebet minn Spanja fit-tieni nofs tas-seklu tmintax għalkemm hawn min jaħseb li hija xogħol tas-seklu sbatax. Waqt li r-ras u l-idejn huma xogħol Spanjol, il-bust tagħha nħadem Malta.   Il-figura tal-mara Lhudija hija mlibbsa ħwejjeġ tal-bellus u s-satin u għandha mantell bir-rakmu kif inhu wkoll il-maktur li żżomm f'idejha.

Records about this statue of the Veronica are scarce and apart from being an 18th century  Spanish import , not much else is known. Some scholars claim that it might even be much older and that it was brought over to the islands in the 17th Century. This figure of the Jewish lady is again adorned with velvet garments complete with  an embroidered cloak and veil.

 

Il-Vara L-Kbira

 

Din il-Vara l-Kbira prezzjuza hija xogħol ferm antik b'influwenza Spanjola qawwija. Inġiebet minn Spanja bejn wieħed u ieħor fl-istess żmien li nġiebet il-Veronika. Nafu iżda, li l-kurċifiss nġieb minn Milan fl-1826. X'aktarx din kienet il-vara li bdiet il-purċissjoni tal-Ġimgħa l-Kbira fil-Birgu.  Il-figuri tal-Madonna, San Ġwann u l-Madalena huma lebsin bellus u satin fin b'galluni tad-deheb u b'dijademi u sandlijiet tal-fidda. Ta' min jinnota lil San Ġwann bil-mustaċċi, xi ħaġa li ma tantx hi komuni.

Vara L-Kbira Birgu generated by VisualLightBox.com

This is one of the oldest statuary groups in Birgu and is again a Spanish import of approximately the same era of that of the Veronica. However the figure of the crucified Jesus was imported from Milan Italy in 1826.  It is believed that this is the statue that gave birth to the Good Friday procession in this city. The figures of the Holy Mary, Saint John and Mary Magdalene, beneath the cross are dressed in fine velvet and satin garments decorated with golden tassels together with matching silver sandals and halos. One very uncommon feature to this group is the moustache on the figure of Saint John.

 

Il-Monument

Is-sodda tal-Monument hija suġġetta ta' żmien l-ordni ta' San Ġwann li wisq probabli kienet tintuża waqt funerali ta' nies prominenti fl-Ordni. L-urna saret fl-1750 u nħadmet mill-arġentier Mastru Filippu Vella filwaqt li l-qafas tal-injam inkesa bil-fidda minn Anġlu Zarb. Maż-żmien saru diversi alterazzjonijiet iżda l-akbar restawr sar fl-1949 wara l-ħsarat li ġarrbet l-urna fil-gwerra. Dan sar minn Carmelo Pace Ferraud ta' Tas-Sliema. Fl-1980, wara li ġie deċiż li l-urna tibda tinġarr fuq l-ispallejn u mhux aktar fuq l-idejn, saret bażi ġdida minn Ġanni Pisani u ibnu li ħadmu wkoll sett lasti apposta. Il-korp ta Kristu mejjet huwa xogħol l-istatwarju Wistin Camilleri u ħa post iehor ta' Karlu Darmanin.


The mattress upon which the statue of Jesus is lying is state is originally a catafalque from the time of The Order of St John and  most probably was used for funerals of prominent members of the Order. In 1750 Filippu Vella,  together with Anglu Zarb, constructed the silver-covered frame we see today. In 1949 it had to be extensively restored following the damages it suffered in the Second World War.  In 1980 it was decided that the statue would be carried shoulder-high and no longer by hand, so the wooden base had to be re-designed and the necessary alterations were carried out by Ganni Pisani.  The figure of Christ we see here is the work of Wistin Camilleri which had replaced an earlier one by Carlo Darmanin.

 
 

Il-figura tal-Madonna tifforma parti mis-sett l-antik li nġab minn Spanja u għalhekk m'għandniex ħjiel min hu l-awtur tagħha. Oriġinarjament, il-Madonna kienet akkumpanjata minn anġlu jżomm kuruna tax-xewk f'idejh imma fl-aħħar tas-seklu dsatax ġie deċiż li dan jinbidel mal-figura ta' San Ġwann li ma nafux min ħadimha.

Id-Duluri

Since the figure of Our Lady of Sorrows also forms part of the old set which was imported from Spain, its author, as in other cases remains a mystery. The figure of Saint John, replaced a former angel  , towards the end of the nineteenth century and here again there are no records of its origin.

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