Montallegro

About

A sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Liguria, Italy, near Rapallo, built c.1557.

According to tradition, the Blessed Virgin appeared on 2 July 1557 on Monte Leto to Giovanni Chichizola, a peasant, and showed him a picture of her passing from earthly life, saying that it had been transported by angels from Greece, and that she would leave it on the mountain side as a pledge of her love. The picture was placed in the principal church in Rapallo for veneration, but two days later it mysteriously disappeared and was again found on a rock at Montallegro. Thereupon the Rapallese decided that here the Madonna wished the portrait to remain, and they began to build a shrine which was consecrated in July 1558. In 1574 some shipwrecked Greek sailors, recognizing the picture as one which was formerly venerated in Ragusa and which had been missing since 1557, claimed it. After legal proceedings it was surrendered to them but the following day this miraculous painting reappeared in the sanctuary of Montallegro and has since remained there undisturbed.

Apparently of Byzantine origin, the portrait represents the Blessed Virgin lying on a bier, surrounded by several saints, and two angels, supporting a representation of the Holy Trinity symbolized by three human bodies merged into one. The feast of Our Lady of Montallegro to whom Rapallo was dedicated in 1739 is observed during the first three days of July.

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