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The Sanctuary of Castelmonte

The Sanctuary of Castelmonte is very ancient: the oldest of the Friuli and one of the first of all the Christianity. The origins go back approximately to 1500 years ago. An old tradition place it back to the V century, immediately after the Efeso's Concilium in 431, when the Divine Maternity of Maria become official. Until yesterday this theory was without foundation and based only on tradition but in 1962, while digging in order to built the inferior church under the Sanctuary, two pavements of "cocciopesto" have been discovered, dated at least at the VI century: clear proof that until then on top of Castelmonte there was "something".

But what was that "something" at that height and eight kilometers far from Cividale? A roman garrison, a place of sight and defense, in the period of the invasions, that begun in the V century: the gothic invasion of Alarico in the 402, that one of the Huns with Attila in the 452, then the Longobards came in the 568 with Alboino for ending with the Slavic incursions and infiltrations from the VII to the IX century.

At half way between Cividale and the Sanctuary, rises the top of the Guardia Monte, whose name recalls a place of sight and defense over the valleys of Natisone. It was in those years of terror that Castelmonte become a defensive outpost of the city of Cividale and of the Friuli; and the guard soldiers naturally joined to the eve in crews the with prayers of the Vergine. Since then Cividale and the Friuli began to see in Castelmonte a safe place proteced by the Vergin.

At half way between Cividale and the Sanctuary, rises the top of the Guardia Monte, whose name recalls a place of sight and defense over the valleys of Natisone. It was in those years of terror that Castelmonte become a defensive outpost of the city of Cividale and of the Friuli; and the guard soldiers naturally joined to the eve in crews the with prayers of the Vergine. Since then Cividale and the Friuli began to see in Castelmonte a safe place proteced by the Vergin.

The Madonna di Castelmonte thus revealed itself, face to the tops of the Julian Alps, as a shield and comfort to the eastern thresholds of the Patria of Friuli and of Italy. Since the days of the Longobards and the Franks, that is, from the 568 to the 9th century, the devotees flocked up here, so much so that in the immediate vicinity of the Sanctuary there was a "Malbergium" now corrupt in Moldiaria a place of solemn meetings popular for the administration of justice.

This explains very well why the Madonna di Castelmonte has ever been called "the Ancient Madonna" and why the Slavs, who arrived here at that time, called Castelmonte "Staragora" that is "Monte Antico" precisely because they found it already inhabited since ancient times.

Inhabited by whom?
It was certainly not a suitable place for private homes, in such solitude and on an arid rock.
Who lived there, who reigned there, who called the crowds up here, could only be the Madonna.

Queste e altre notizie su sito ufficale del Santuario della Beata Vergine Maria:
www.santuariocastelmonte.it


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