Madonna Bianca: a miracle in Portovenere
.The feast of MadonnaBianca, every year on August 17 animates the village of Portovenere , has ancient origins . The birth of Marian devotion portovenerino goes back to a summer night in 1399 , when the house of this Luciardo occurred a miracle
“August 16, 1399, the voice goes around from street to street:” In the house of Luciardo a miracle happened. The Madonna has turned white! “
The feast of the Madonna Bianca – Our Lady in white – celebrated every year on August 17, animating the village of Portovenere. The Marian cult has ancient origins, dating back to a summer night in 1399, when in the house of Luciardo from Portovenere a miracle took place.
The Miracle of the White Madonna of Portovenere
It was the 16th of August, in the year of the fourteenth century. In his house, Luciardo was praying in front of an icon of the Madonna. In the same room, there was also Marian icon, older and blackened by time. It had arrived in the fishers village – so it is said – by sea, kept in a Lebanon cedar trunk (the Lebanon cedar trunk of Lebanon is still kept today in the left aisle of the church of San Lorenzo, which houses also the painting).
Engaged in prayer, Luciardo noticed that slowly the old blackened picture was gaining color. Amazed, he looked at the drawning changing shape: the hands of the Madonna were clasping and in the hands of baby Jesus a cartouche appeared, inviting everyone to pray and to convert.
Portovenere shouts “Miracle”, which is certified by a public notary.
Amazed, Luciardo shouts “It’s a miracle”. People from the village starts to rush in and is astonished by the transformation process of the painting. To certify the event, also the law was involved: the notary Giovanni Michele from Vernazza drew a careful chronicle of the fact, also countersigned by 60 eyewitnesses.
The Madonna Bianca in Portovenere today
Nowadays, every August 17, the village of Portovenere celebrates the miracle happened on the night of 1399. During the whole day different liturgical ceremonies are scheduled at the church of San Lorenzo (housing the miraculous paper parchment) while at nightfall celebrations reach the stage top with the procession – through the streets of the village – conducted to St. Peter’s church and lit by thousends candlelights.
The cityscape of Portovenere, at nightfall, is drawned with the magic provided by thousands of candles.