Oratory of the Arciconfraternita della Morte e Orazione

Oratory of the Arciconfraternita della Morte e Orazione

Position: Massa centro

The Archconfraternity of Death and Prayer of Massa Lubrense met, until 1746, in a room adjacent to the bell tower of the former Cathedral of S. Maria delle Grazie, after having moved from the sacristy of the cathedral.

In the second half of the eighteenth century the problem arose of enlarging the brotherhood chapel erected a few decades earlier and already insufficient, especially considering the numerical growth of the association.

The chapel was originally just over 7 meters long, effectively unsuitable for hosting the confreres and the people: for example, during the novena of the dead, there were a lot of visitors to the oratory.

Having granted his royal consent in 1782, the confreres of the congregation resolved to demolish it by buying the chapel and rebuilding it larger. Currently the oratory looks like a rectangular building 4 and a half meters wide and 21 and a half meters long, located next to the bell tower of the former Cathedral of S. Maria delle Grazie.

Of significant importance is the polychrome majolica floor, the work of the Neapolitan artist Ignazio Chiaiese: it is decorated with festoons, shoots and cones of flowers and fruit. But unfortunately the state of wear of the entrance and the median strip towards the altar does not allow you to appreciate the decoration related to the symbolism of the Archconfraternity, if not for a few elements. Behind the altar is the choir, with ancient wooden stalls and majolica floor, while the benches have recently been redone. The main altar, in elegant polychrome marble, is the work of the famous marble workers Adamo of Naples. Its purchase was the result of the intuition and luck of the prior Alessandro Maggio (second half of the 1700s): it remained unsold due to a canceled order, in fact, it was hoarded by the Confraternity of Massa for only 500 ducats, despite being worth much more.

On the stall intended for the Prior there is a small 82x70cm canvas with the only existing portrait of Father Vincenzo Maggio, founder, as well as of the Monte dei Morti, of the vast Jesuit College in Via Roma, more familiarly known today as “Il Quartiere” (= the Neighborhood). The altarpiece in the Chapel is a painting of about 180x140cm presumably from the 18th century: by an unknown hand but of discreet workmanship, it depicts the Savior who redeems souls in purgatory with his blood.

From the Sacristy, where there is a painting of 1.80 × 2.10 meters which represents the Magdalene with souls in purgatory (the primary seat of the Mount was dedicated to the Magdalene, which stood near the Collegio del Gesù), one descends into the suggestive Holy Land, as large as the chapel above, where two painted wooden coffins are kept, of ancient workmanship, but not in a good state of conservation, which were used for the transport and free burying of the bodies of the brothers or the needy. On the Cantoria there is still the organ in gilded and colored wood from the 1700s, still functioning but in need of restoration.