Celebrations for Sainte Devote, patron saint of Monaco, will take place on Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th of January. These celebrations are one of the oldest traditions in the Principality of Monaco, a tradition that has permeated the national culture in fields as diverse as religion, folklore, popular belief, history, literature, arts, painting, music, numismatics and philately.
The tradition, which has held a privileged place in the hearts of Monegasques for centuries, comes from the “Legend of Saint Devote” found in a medieval document. According to this legend, Devota (Devote), a young Christian native of Corsica was martyred by the prefect Barbarus under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in the year 303 or 304. Her body, stolen the following night by faithful people, was put on a boat, brought to Monaco and buried in a chapel of the valley called “Gaumates” near the port, on the 27th of January of the same year. Under Honoré II, in the XVII century, Sainte Devote became patroness of Monaco.
Since 1874, the tradition has continued every year: a boat is burned in the presence of the Sovereign and the Princely Family, accompanied by Monegasque personalities. Once the boat is burned, there is a firework display at Port Hercule. On the 27th of January, the feast day, a solemn Mass is celebrated in the Cathedral by the Archbishop of the Diocese. The Princely Family, the Prince’s Government, the elected assemblies and the constituted bodies and members of the public attend this ceremony. After the ceremony, a procession with the participation of Penitents of the Archconfraternity of Mercy heads towards the Prince’s Palace with the shrine containing relics escorted by the Carabiniers du Prince.
The procession stops on the Place du Palais. An Honour Guard and the Carabinier du Prince Orchestra pay tribute to them. A celebrant then blesses the Princely Family and the relics. The procession then goes to the ramparts, another celebrant is blessed for Monaco and its population. Finally back in front of the cathedral, a last celebrant is blessed for the sea and the fishermen.
Saint Devote Celebrations Schedule:
Friday 26 January 2019
10.30 am Saint Devote Church: traditional mass, in the Monegasque language.
Blessing of the sea.
6:40 pm Port Hercule: Tribute to Saint Devote, Entrance of the Boat carrying relics. In the harbour in front of the Monaco Yacht Club: release of a dove and commencement of the procession in front of the Monaco Yacht Club, on Quai Louis II.
6:45 pm Arrival of the Boat and relics: Vallon des Gaumates. Procession halts, Remission of the relics and blessing of the city (in the presence of the Carabiniers du Prince).
6:45 pm from President J. F. Kennedy Avenue: Continuation of the procession with the relics of Saint Devote.
7.00 pm Saint Devote’s Church: Greetings from the Most Blessed Sacrament, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Albert II and the Princely Family, presided over by His Eminence Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco.
7:30 pm Parvis of the Saint Devote church: Lighting of the Symbolic Boat by the Princely Family
Afterwards, from Quai Rainier III: Fireworks presented by the “Flash Art Monaco Entertainment” company.
Saturday 27 January 2019
10:00 am Cathedral: Pontifical Mass presided over by Bishop Youssef Antoine Soueif, Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus
More information: www.saintedevotemonaco.com