Events to celebrate St. Devota, patron saint of Monaco, will take place on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 January.
These celebrations are among the oldest traditions of the Principality of Monaco, and have permeated the national culture in areas as diverse as religion, folklore, popular beliefs, history, literature, the arts, painting, music, coins and stamps.
The tradition derives from the so-called “Legend of St. Devota” passed down through a medieval document. It holds a special place in the heart of Monegasques, and has been documented throughout centuries of the city’s history.
According to the legend, Devota, a young Christian woman from Corsica, was martyred by the prefect Barbarus under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian on a date believed to have been in 303 or 304. Her body, removed the following night by believers, was placed in a boat, taken to Monaco and buried in a chapel in the Vallon des Gaumates near the port on 27 January of the same year.
Under Honoré II in the seventeenth century, St. Devota became the patron saint of Monaco.
According to an annual tradition established in 1874, a boat is burned on a pyre in the presence of the Sovereign and his family, accompanied by leading figures from Monaco. Following the burning of the boat, there is a fireworks display on Port Hercule.
On 27 January, the day of the festival, a solemn mass is celebrated in the Cathedral by the Archbishop of the Diocese. This is attended by the Royal Family, the Prince’s government, the elected assemblies and constitutional bodies, and many of the faithful. After the ceremony, a procession involving Penitents of the Brotherhood of Mercy heads towards the Prince’s Palace with the shrine containing the relics, escorted by the Palace Guards.
The procession comes to a halt on Place du Palais. A guard of honour and the orchestra of the Palace Guards greet the procession and an officiant blesses the Royal Family with the relics. The procession then makes its way to the ramparts where another officiant blesses Monaco and its people. Finally, it returns to the front of the Cathedral where a final officiant blesses the sea and fishermen.
For more information, see: www.saintedevotemonaco.com
Saint Devota celebrations:
FRIDAY 26 JANUARY 2018
10.30 a.m. Church of St. Devota: Mass of the Traditions, in Monegasque.
Blessing of the Sea
* * *
6.30 pm Port Hercule: Homage to Saint Devota
Boat bearing the relics enters the port
in front of the Yacht Club de Monaco: a dove is released and
the procession departs from in front of the Yacht Club de Monaco on Quai Louis II
* * *
6.45 p.m. Arrival of the Boat and relics – Vallon des Gaumates
Presentation of relics and blessing of the town
(in the presence of the Palace Guards)
6.45 p.m. from Avenue Président J.F. Kennedy:
Continuation of procession
with relics of St. Devota
* * *
7 p.m. Church of St. Devota: Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,
in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and the Royal Family
and presided over by His Grace Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco.
* * *
7.30 p.m. Forecourt of the Church of St. Devota: Burning of the
Symbolic Boat by the Royal Family
* * *
Afterwards, from Quai Rainier III: Fireworks display
presented by Flash Art Monaco Entertainment
SATURDAY 27 JANUARY 2018
9.55 a.m. Cathedral:Welcoming of the Relics by Members
of the Clergy and the Venerable Brotherhood of Mercy.
* * *
10 a.m. Cathedral: Pontifical Mass presided over by
Monsignor Youssef Antoine Soueif, Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus
Entrance: Great Organ
Opening hymn: “Cantique à Sainte Dévote” (“Canticle for St. Devota”)– Monsignor Louis-Lazare Perruchot
Ordinary: Mass of St. Boniface Markus Wittal
Responsorial psalm: Psalm 33, "Qui regarde vers Dieu resplendira” (“Those who look to Him are radiant”) – Jean Revert
Choir, string orchestra and organ
Alleluia: “du Jubilé” (“Jubilee Mass”) – Jean-Paul Lécot
“Credo in unum Deum”
Universal prayer: “Seigneur entend la prière qui monte de nos cœurs” (“Lord, Hear the Prayer in Our Hearts”)
Offertory: Great Organ
Anamnesis: “Il est grand le mystère de la Foi” (“Great is the Mystery of Faith”)
Communion: Great Organ
Communion hymn: “Le roi d'amour est mon pasteur” (“The King of Love My Shepherd Is”) – Charles Gounod
Prayer for H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince
Solemn Pontifical Blessing
Exit: Great Organ
Cathedral Choir and Little Singers of Monaco
Conductor: Pierre Debat, Chapel Master
Great Organ: Olivier Vernet, Resident Organist
Choir Organ: Jean-Cyrille Gandillet, Resident Organist
* * *
11.15 a.m. Monaco-Ville: Solemn Procession of the Relics,
led by Their Excellencies and with the participation of:
members of the Clergy
Penitents of the Venerable Brotherhood of Mercy
a delegation from Lucciana Municipal Council
and the Municipal Music
Rue Bellando de Castro,
Place du Palais: Blessing of the Sovereign House,
and the Royal Family
From the Ramparts: Blessing of the City,
Forecourt of the Cathedral: Blessing of the Sea
by Their Excellencies
4 p.m. Church of St. Devota: Organ Concert
(organised by the Monaco Department of Cultural Affairs in collaboration with the Parish of St. Devota and the In Tempore Organi association)