December 5, 2019

Neapolitan Music for Christmas

Looking for some last-minute stocking stuffer ideas? Wrap up your Christmas shopping with a culturally rewarding gift. I highly recommend these CDs featuring 17th and 18th century Christmas music from Naples.

Peppe Barra: La Cantata Dei Pastori

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Francesco Durante: Neapolitan Christmas I

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Francesco Durante: Neapolitan Christmas II

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Christmas in Naples

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Traditional Latin Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Bath Beach, Brooklyn

December 4, 2019

Advent Sunday at the Met

The Met's Medieval Sculpture Hall
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
After Mass on Advent Sunday, members of the Fratelli della Santa Fede (Brothers of the Holy Faith) took a quasi-retreat to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave.) in Manhattan to see the highly anticipated Last Knight exhibit (Gallery 899) and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche in the Medieval Sculpture Hall (305). Ages since our last visit, we also took the opportunity to peruse the Renaissance of Etching exhibit (691-693), the Rodin and European Painting Gallery (800), the Drawing and Prints Gallery (690), and the Arms and Armor Court (371).
For more pictures of the Met's Presepio click here, here, here and here
Our visit began in the Medieval Sculpture Hall on the first floor where the museum’s annual Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche were on display. Set in front of the eighteenth-century Spanish Choir screen, the towering blue spruce is decorated with an array of traditional presepi pieces created by some of Naples’ finest sculptors, including Salvatore di Franco (active 18th century) and Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720-1793). Evoking a church interior, the subdued gallery is also loaded with medieval sculptures and tapestries from Northern Europe dating from 1300 to 1500.
(L) St. Mary Magdalene, French, Champagne, Troyes, ca. 1500-1525. (R) St. Nicholas with the Three Boys in the Pickling Tub, South Netherlandish, ca. 1500
(L) St. Catherine of Alexandria, German, lower Rhine valley, ca. 1530.
(R) St. Martin of Tours, German, Swabia, 1475-1525
Passing through the European Sculptures and Decorative Arts galleries, we moved on to the nearby Arms and Armor Court. Greatly impressed by the museum’s vast collection of armor and weapons, the hall was a nice prelude to the Last Knight exhibit upstairs.
(L) Burgonet with Buffe, Italian, ca. 1555-60. (R) Equestrian knights in full plate 
Suits of medieval plate armor on display in the Arms and Armor Court
Ascending the great marble staircase, we fortuitously stumbled upon the Renaissance of Etching exhibit along the way. Featuring the prints of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Parmigianino (1503-1540) and others, we jumped at the chance to view the work of some of the medium’s most famed artists and took a short detour through the galleries.
Death and the Devil Surprising Two Women, ca. 1510-15,
Etching by Daniel Hopfer (German, 1471-1536)
Landscape with a Cannon, 1518, Etching by Albrecht Dürer
Marking the quincentenary of the Emperor’s death, The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I provides an extraordinary opportunity to delve into this remarkable ruler’s life and times and consider his vast artistic legacy. Boasting some 180 artifacts from institutional and private collections, the exhibition explores Kaiser Maximilian’s (1459-1519) passion for armor, statecraft, knightly valor and chivalry. Highlights include the Emperor’s field armor, a pair of his gauntlets, and a portrait of Maximilian I in Imperial Regalia by Bernhard Strigel (1460-1528). A must see, the exhibit runs through January 5, 2020.
Bard Presented by Maximilian I to Henry VIII,
ca. 1505, wrought by Guillem Margot
Armet, Austrian (Innsbruck), ca. 1515-20,
attributed to Hans Seusenhofer (1470/71-1555)
Eight reliefs from the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl),
ca. 1496/97-1500, design attributed to Jörg Kölderer
(L) Maximilian I in Imperial Regalia by Bernhard Strigel.
(R) Death Portrait of Maximilian I, South German or Austrian, after 1519
(L) Bianca Maria Sforza, Italian, probably 1493, by Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis. (R) Maximilian I, Italian, 1502, by Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis 
(L) Charles V in Armor and Holding a Sword, South German, ca. 1515.
(R) Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Netherlandish, ca. 1500
Pair of Gauntlets of Maximilian I, South German (Augsburg), ca. 1490
(L) Maximillian I in the Guise of St. George, South German (Augsburg), ca. 1509/10 by Daniel Hopfer. (R) Maximilian I on Horseback, South German (Augsburg) and Netherlandish, dated 1508, printed 1518
Emperor Maximilian I from the Catalogue of the
Armory of Heroes
, Austrian (Innsbruck), 1603
(L) Medal of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian I, Netherlandish, probably 1477-80, by Giovanni Filangieri Candida (ca. 1445/50-ca. 1498/9?). (R) St. Maurice, German, ca. 1520-25, by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) and workshop
(L) Foot Combat Armor of Maximilian I by Francesco da Merate, Italian, active 1480-96. (R) Papal Presentation Sword, Italian, ca. 1510 and later
(L) St. George and the Dragon, ca. 1460-70, South German, possibly Swabian. (R) King Arthur, ca. 1891, Austrian, by Heinrich Fuss (1845-1913)
Meandering through the neighboring Rodin and European Painting Gallery, the aptly named hall is teeming with bronze, marble, and terracotta figures by the great French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Accompanying the sculptures are an incredible selection of paintings dating from Rodin’s lifetime. Among my favorites are Pygmalion and Galatea (ca. 1890) by Jean-Léon Gérôme and Joan of Arc (1879) by Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884). My actual favorite painting from the hall, Graziella (1878) by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911), was not on view.
Joan of Arc, 1878, French, Damvillers, by Jules Bastien-Lepage
(L) St. John the Baptist, modeled ca. 1878, cast ca. 1888, Auguste Rodin. (R) Marie Antoinette in a Park, ca. 1780-81, by Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
Finally, before leaving we briefly stopped to admire a beautiful chalk rendering of Marie Antoinette in a Park (ca. 1780-81) by the celebrated French portraitist Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) in the Drawing and Prints Gallery.

~ Giovanni di Napoli, December 3, Feast of St. Francis Xavier

Feast of Santa Barbara

Evviva Santa Barbara!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
December 4th is the Feast Day of Santa Barbara of Nicomedia, virgin and martyr. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, she is invoked against lightning, fire and diseases. Widely venerated across southern Italy she is the principal patroness of Sommatino (CL), Paternò (CT), Gravà (CT), Tremestieri Etneo (CT), Castellana Sicula (PA), Villaggio Mosè (AG), Malò (ME), Francavilla di Sicilia (ME), Davoli (CZ), Amaroni (CZ), Salento (SA), and Corleto Monforte (SA), among others. 
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer in her honor. The accompanying photo of the saint was taken at the Museo del Duomo in Ravello.
Prayer to Saint Barbara
O God, Who didst adorn Thy holy virgin and martyr Barbara with extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her intercession perseverance in the fulfilment of Thy law and the grace of being fortified before our end with the holy sacraments, and of a happy death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Rorate Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Harlem, New York

December 3, 2019

New Book — The Fight for Greek Sicily: Society, Politics, and Landscapes

Forthcoming title that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at 

• The Fight for Greek Sicily: Society, Politics, and Landscapes by Melanie Jonasch 

Publisher: Oxbow Books 
Publication date: August 30, 2020 
Paperback: $49.95 
Language: English 
Pages: 352 

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Discussing St. Pius X's Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis in Bridgeport, Connecticut

December 1, 2019

The Penitential Season of Advent

Zampognari figures at the MET
The Sunday nearest to the Feast of Sant’Andrea Apostle on November 30th is the beginning of the Western Church’s liturgical year and the penitential season of Advent (Adventus in Latin, which means "coming" and "arrival."). It is a time of prayer, charity and fasting in which the faithful are admonished to worthily prepare ourselves for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the second and final coming of our King and Savior. 

Familiar southern Italian customs during the season include the making and displaying of ornate presepi (Nativity scenes) and traditional bagpipe music performed by zampognari and pifferari (pipers and fifers). In celebration I’m posting a Prayer for Advent. The accompanying photo of lifelike zampognari figures was taken at the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Annual Angel Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche exhibit.
Advent Prayer
Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

December by Michele Sovente

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Reprinted from Dialect Poetry of Southern Italy: Texts and Criticism (A Trilingual Anthology) edited by Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 1997, p.275.


Cora caruta ammiezo
'i ffoglie 'i dicembre
quanno addisegna 'u cielo
vie storte senza na ràreca.
Chello ca nun se rice
s' 'u pporta nu camje
ca 'ncoppa 'i pprete s' appenne.
Acqua moppeta rinto
'i ssajttelle, cu ttanta streppuni
e rrote carute, 'a faccia
'i ll' acqua nisciuno 'a sape.
'I ffoglie a dicembre addiventano
serpienti e liuni



A tail fallen among
December leaves
when the sky draws
crooked roads leading nowhere.
What isn't said
is taken away by a truck
scrambling up stony paths.
Water swirling
in the cesspits, with so many cores
and tires fallen in, no one
knows the face of the water.
The leaves in December become
snakes and lions.

(Translated by Luigi Bonaffini)

This Month in History (December)

Historical events from each month of the year
The Pipes of the Mezzogiorno
The bagpipes are an ancient instrument, dating back thousands of years; they're even mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:21). Here in America we normally associate the bagpipes with the Irish and Scottish, who have a long and storied tradition with this wonderful instrument. However, many Americans, even those of Italian ancestry, are unaware that Italy has an ancient bagpipe tradition of it's own. Ironically, this tradition is not in the North where there was more Celtic influence, but rather in the South, with its ancient Hellenic heritage. Continue reading
December 2
The Mustard Gas Disaster at Bari Harbor
World War II is without a doubt one of the most devastating events to affect humankind since the last ice age. The war and the conditions it caused killed close to 3% of the planet’s human population, mostly European, and finally ended with the use of atomic weapons against two Japanese cities. In most wars there are events that participating governments would rather people forget. One of these events occurred on December 2nd, 1943, when a German air raid destroyed an American ship containing mustard gas in Bari Harbor. Continue reading
December 15
Francesco Messina
Francesco Messina was born on December 15, 1900 in Linguaglossa, a small town near Catania, languishing in the shadow of Mount Etna. Like many other poor Southerners he grew up outside his native Sicily, residing wherever his family could find work.
Instead of making the arduous trip across the Atlantic to the United States his father decided to try his luck in Genoa, a major port of call during the Mezzogiorno's post-unification diaspora. Continue reading
December 25
The Seeds of the Kingdom
Walking along the streets of Palermo, Sicily, one gets the feeling of being in a nexus of worlds. Whether one gazes at the Teatro Massimo opera house (the largest in Italy and third largest in Europe), strolls through the Church of Santa Teresa alla Kalsa (an outstanding example of Sicilian Baroque architecture!), walks along the ancient streets of La Kalsa with its many vendors, or peers at the mosaics in the Palazzo dei Normanni, one cannot help but notice the many cultural imprints left by this city’s former rulers. Continue reading
December 26
The Eighth Wonder of the World: Frederick II Hohenstaufen King of Sicily; Holy Roman Emperor
The Kingdom of Sicily, founded by Roderigo (Roger) II on Christmas Day, 1130 passed to his fourth son Guglielmo (William) I upon his death on February 26th, 1154.  Growing up, Guglielmo had little expectation of ever becoming king.  Over the period of 1138-48 his three older brothers (Roderigo, Tancredo and Alfonso) all died under different circumstances, dramatically changing his fortunes. Continue reading
December 28
The Day the Earth Moved: The 1908 Messina Earthquake Remembered
Archaeologists tell us that in the roughly 2,000 centuries our species has walked the earth we have only enjoyed the "creature comforts" of what we call civilization for about 60 of those centuries.  This transition certainly did not occur overnight, and if one goes by the headlines, there are those who still have yet to become civilized. Continue reading
December 29
Discovering the Blue Vase of Pompeii
Discovered at Pompeii on December 29, 1837, in the presence of King Ferdinand II, the Blue Vase is regarded by many to be the Naples National Archaeological Museum's most prized possession. Considering the institution's vast collection of antiquities from Pompeii, Herculcneum and Stabiae (not to mention the famed Farnese collection) that's quite a claim. 
The Blue Vase is said to have been found in the House of the Mosaic Columns during a Royal inspection. Some have suggested it was planted to impress the noble visitors. Apparently, it was not uncommon for excavators to inhume their finds and wait for an opportune time to unearth the treasure in order to keep their patrons excited and the funds coming in. Continue reading

November 30, 2019

Feast of Sant’Andrea Apostolo

Evviva Sant'Andrea!
November 30th is the Feast Day of Sant'Andrea Apostolo (St. Andrew the Apostle), patron of fishermen and protector of Amalfi. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Andrew. The accompanying photo was taken at the 2012 Feast of Saint Andrew in New Haven, Connecticut.  
Prayer to Saint Andrew
O glorious Saint Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, Saint John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother, Saint Peter, to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.

Solemn Votive Mass of St. Nicholas in New York City

November 29, 2019

Constantinian Food Walk

This Thursday, December 5th at 7:00PM join the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George Auxiliary Corps for their monthly food walk. Volunteers will meet at the Church of the Transfiguration cafeteria (29 Mott Street—entrance on Mosco St.) in Chinatown, New York to prepare and distribute food to the homeless.

Anyone interested in supporting this charitable endeavor can contact Cav. John Napoli at or Anna Mavrianos-Cesare at For additional information, the Order can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram or at The Constantinian Chronicle. IHSV

New Music — Il Soffio Di Partenope: Music For Woodwinds From 18th Century Naples

New music that may be of interest to our readers.

Il Soffio Di Partenope: Music For Woodwinds From 18th Century Naples by Ensemble Barocco Di Napoli / Abchordis Ensemble

Label: Deutsche Gram France
Release Date: November 29, 2019
Audio CD: NA
Number of Discs: 1

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November 28, 2019

Feast of San Giacomo della Marca

Viva San Giacomo!
Photo Courtesy of Anthony Scillia
November 28th is the Feast Day of San Giacomo della Marca (St. James of the Marches), missionary and miracle worker. Counted among the many co-patrons of Naples, the austere friar preached tirelessly against greed and usury. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to St. James of the Marches. The accompanying photo was taken at St. James of the Marches R.C. Church in Totowa, New Jersey.
Prayer to St. James of the Marches
O God, you have given to the Church in St. James of the Marches a tireless missionary of your word, totally dedicated to the salvation of souls and the conversion of sinners. May his intercession help us to atone for our sins and to walk swiftly on the path of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God.

Felice Festa del Ringraziamento!

Detail of Independence Flagstaff by Anthony de Francisci
Photo courtesy of New York Scugnizzo
We at Il Regno wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday. Even in hard times there is still a lot to be thankful for. We're thankful for our family, our people, and our faith. We're thankful for opportunities to work, and provide for ourselves and our loved ones. We're thankful for the past, because there can be no greater teacher. May we learn our lessons well. Best wishes to you all. Felice Festa del Ringraziamento!

Prayer at Harvest and Thanksgiving

O God, source and giver of all things, you manifest your infinite majesty, power and goodness in the earth about us: We give you honor and glory. For the sun and the rain, for the manifold fruits of our fields: For the increase of our herds and flocks, we thank you. For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace, we are grateful. Supreme Lord of the harvest, graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil, in union with Jesus, your Son, as atonement for our sins, for the growth of your Church, for peace and love in our homes, and for salvation for all. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Next Purgatorial Society Mass: December 2

The New York Purgatorial Society is a pious association dedicated to assisting the poor souls in Purgatory, under the patronage of St. Michael the Archangel. Members hear Mass (Usus Antiquior) monthly and pray daily for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed (one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be). A Solemn Mass with polyphony is offered annually on or around the feast of All Souls.

To become a member, write to There is an annual membership fee of $30 which defrays the cost of the choir at the annual Solemn High.

November 27, 2019

Venerating St. Padre Pio’s Relics at Immaculate Conception Church, in Tuckahoe, New York

On 23 November 2019 members of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and the Comitati delle Due Sicilie had the honor of venerating St. Padre Pio’s relics at Immaculate Conception Church, in Tuckahoe, New York, originally founded in the parish in 1853 as the area’s second Catholic church.

Graciously overseen by the Saint Pio Foundation, with founder and CEO Maestro Luciano Lamonaca in attendance, a steady crowd of the faithful filed in to the hilltop church to venerate the relics which were comprised of Saint Pio’s crusts of the wounds, cotton-gauze with Saint Pio’s blood stains, a lock of Saint Pio’s hair, Saint Pio’s mantle, Saint Pio’s handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died.

The Saint Foundation made available a variety of prayer and relic cards, as well as novenas, Rosaries, a sculpture of the Saint and a special commemorative necktie by E. Marinella of Naples, as well as a silk foulard with his image.

A special thanks to the Parish and the members of the Saint Pio Foundation for their tireless efforts to promote the faith and the legacy of Padre Pio and for their warm welcome to pilgrims and devotees, many of whom stayed for the evening mass.

Photos and article by Cav. Charles Sant’Elia and Silvia Sant’Elia
Immaculate Conception Church
Saint Pio's relics on display near the sanctuary
Devotees take turns venerating the relics 
A silk foulard with Padre Pio's image 
Cav. Charles Sant'Elia with Saint Pio Foundation
founder and CEO Maestro Luciano Lamonaca