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The Knights and Dames of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy took part in the traditional celebration of the Feast of the Holy Shroud in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome on 8 May 2024.

This year, in accordance with tradition, the Dames and Knights of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy took part in the celebration of the Liturgical Memorial of the Holy Shroud in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, where the relics of the Passion of Christ have been venerated since antiquity.

The meeting began with a lecture entitled “La Casa di Savoia e la donazione della Sindone alla Santa Sede”, given by Comm. Prof. Antonio Cassanelli. In the first part, he gave a fascinating account of the 530 years of history that linked the events of the Holy Shroud to those of the House of Savoy, which dedicated itself to defending and preserving the most important relic of Christianity, promoting its knowledge and worship. The second part of the lecture focused on the testamentary decision of H.R.H. King Umberto II to donate the Shroud to the Church. After almost 40 years of exile, as he approached the entrance to the Kingdom that knows no end, where the vision of Christ the Saviour is eternal, the Sovereign arranged for the Holy Shroud to be donated to the Holy See upon His death.

The Speaker explained how this generous and Christian decision matured serenely in the Sovereign’s mind, influenced by his conversations and correspondence with Mgr. Giulio Ricci, a great devotee of the Holy Shroud, and his collaborator, Dott.ssa Maria Elisabetta Patrizi. Dott.ssa Patrizi, niece of the Marquis Patrizio Patrizi, “Standard bearer of the Holy Roman Church”, and on her mother’s side of Guendalina Spalletti, née Cavazzi della Somaglia, who had been a lady-in-waiting to H.M. Queen Maria José.

The solemn Eucharistic Concelebration then took place in the Basilica, presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Enrico Feroci, assisted by His Excellency Mgr. Romano Rossi, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Civita Castellana, Rev. Don Antonio Panfili, Episcopal Vicar for Consecrated Life of the Diocese of Rome, and seven other concelebrants. The ceremony was attended by a large number of faithful, including representatives of the National Institute for the Guard of Honour at the Royal Tombs of the Pantheon and the Archconfraternity of Maria Ss. del Carmine in Trastevere.

Cardinal Enrico Feroci’s homily was deeply moving and rich in meaning, as it invited the faithful to contemplate the suffering and glorious image of the Lord imprinted on the Shroud and to become witnesses of Christ in their lives.

At the end, the Knights and Dames of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus and of the Order of Merit of Savoy, in church dress, led by the Delegate for Lazio, Gr. Uff. Avv. Alfonso Marini Dettina, carried a linen copy of the Shroud in procession to the altar to be exposed to the devotion of the faithful, with a ritual reminiscent of the ancient ostensions.

In silence and contemplation, the Cardinal recited the “Preghiera davanti la Sindone” and then reverently censed the Sacred Linen.

Once again, the Knights and Dames of the Dynastic Orders, who attended the solemn ceremony in great numbers, demonstrated their attachment to the ideals of the Royal House of Savoy and their loyalty to the Church.


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