Cathedral of Sant'Evasio
Diocesi di Casale Monferrato ( sec. XII; XVIII; XIX )
Largo Mons. G. Angrisani, 15033 Casale Monferrato (AL)
The church of Sant’Evasio was founded in the first half of the 8th century, at the time of the Lombard King Liutprand, who wished to honour the saint by erecting a great basilica over the little church of San Lorenzo, built by Evasius himself. In 1107, Pope Paschal II consecrated a building that was probably still being rebuilt. In 1159, Emperor Frederick I confirmed the assets and rights of the canonry of Sant’Evasio, making donations for the building that is recalled in the Necrology of the Chapter. The building was damaged during the destruction of Casale in 1215. The Diocese of Casale was established in 1474, elevating the church to the status of a cathedral. Over the centuries the Romanesque walls underwent a series of alterations and additions, particularly during the Baroque period. In 1764, the 16th-century chapel of Sant’Evasio was redesigned by Benedetto Alfieri. The current layout of the building is the result of the restoration carried between 1857 and 1861 by the architect Edoardo Arborio Mella. The recent restoration work, promoted by Mons. Zaccheo (1995–2007), has uncovered the original structure of the Romanesque narthex. Casale Cathedral has a large asymmetric gabled façade, with a series of Lombard bands with triple arches enclosing the basilica-narthex complex and is flanked either side by the two tall bell towers. The basilica has a nave and four aisles, onto which the outer chapels open. Tall compound piers support the ribbed cross vaults and a vaulted octagonal crossing tower rises almost in the centre of the space, with a pseudo-transept inserted in the sides. The chancel, raised by five steps, is delimited by a rail. On the left of the high altar is the chapel of the Holy Sacrament; on the right an opening leads to the ambulatory and the sacristy. The basilica is preceded by an imposing narthex with complex architecture.
Casale’s Chapter Archive is home to the Passio beatissimi Evasii manuscript, which recounts the miracles of Saint Evasius. It tells that the Benevento native was summoned to Asti together with his friend Natale, but had to flee the city due to the presence of heretics. Together they reached Casale, where they founded a church dedicated to Saint Lawrence. However, Evasius encountered opposition from the pagan governor and was persecuted and killed. Alone, Natale buried his friend and continued his evangelical project. Although fact mingles with fantasy in the Passio, it is certain that a great basilica was built in honour of the martyr saint Evasius and has survived until our own time. The historical episodes regarding the saint’s remains have a rocambolesque quality: in 1215 they were stolen by the people of Alessandria, along with the cockerel that adorned one of the façade bell towers, and placed in their own cathedral. It was only in 1403, over 188 years later, that the condottiero Facino Cane took the relics of Saint Evasius back to their original site. The relics, housed in a silver and crystal urn in the chamber behind the altar, have been displayed for popular veneration since 3 October 1808, the year of consecration of the cathedral chapel dedicated to Saint Evasius. The liturgical feast day falls on 12 November, the day on which the Pontifical Mass is celebrated, in which the population and the holders of all high-ranking civilian and military offices participate. On this occasion the Confraternity of Sant’Evasio distributes cockerel-shaped blessed biscuits to commemorate the symbol that belonged to its cathedral. The Casale community is bound to the community of Borgo Vercelli by the cult of Saint Evasius through a vow made on 8 September 1403 by the people of the latter, when an outbreak of plague decimated its population. Consequently, every 8 September, the people of Borgo Vercelli flock to Casale Monferrato Cathedral, to the tomb of Saint Evasius, to be released from the vow made by their ancestors. The two communities unite to celebrate Holy Mass. After the function, an evocative procession, led by the Borgo Vercelli parish priest, sets off for the “great river”, where he makes the devotional gesture of pointing the index finger of the arm reliquary of Saint Evasius towards his town, thus releasing his people from the religious vow. The ceremony ends with the traditional distribution of the bread and wine of Saint Evasius. The cathedral is not just a centre for the worship and veneration of the saint; it also houses three noteworthy altars. The first is the altar of Saint Lawrence, the joint patron of the church, on which the Confraternity of Sant’Evasio distributes star-shaped biscuits on his feast day of 10 August, following Mass. The second is the altar of Our Lady of Solace, whose cult was introduced by Bishop Mons. Angrisani, who came to Casale from Turin, on which Mass is celebrated on 20 June. Lastly, the altar of the Virgin of Fatima, dedicated to this cult by the parish priest Father Pierino Fumarco in the 1970s. Mass is celebrated on this altar on 13 May, which commemorates the Virgin’s appearance to the three young shepherds.
E' possibile effettuare visite guidate su prenotazione contattando l'Associazione Antipodes ODV al numero 392.9388505 (telefono o Whatsapp) oppure tramite mail ad email@example.com
Il secondo fine settimana di ogni mese (sabato e domenica pomeriggio dalle 15.00 alle 17.30) in occasione di “Casale città aperta” l’associazione Orizzonte Casale garantisce la presenza di un volontario incaricato all'accompagnamento alla visita del pubblico in Cattedrale.
The building may be visited at the times indicated unless a religious function is in progress
- Cattedrale di Casale Monferrato
- Casale Monferrato
- type of building
- Largo Mons. G. Angrisani, 15033 Casale Monferrato (AL)
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