Towering steeple-like structures, 100 feet high, each representing the patron saints of craftsmen and shopkeepers, were borne in procession through the narrow streets of Nola, near Naples, June 22 during the festival of St.
Towering steeple-like structures, 100 feet high, each representing the patron saints of craftsmen and shopkeepers, were borne in procession through the narrow streets of Nola, near Naples, June 22 during the festival of St. Paulinus - first Archbishop of the town, and much beloved by the people. VISNEWS filmed as the enormous towers ("Lilies") built and carried by tailors, shoe-makers, bakers, butchers, blacksmiths, barbers, wine shop keepers and delicatessen store keepers, moved through the streets, gay with dancing and music.
The "lilies", eight in number, were each shouldered by a hundred men and taken to the town's main square. Each weighing two and a half tons, and bearing a statue of the protector saints of the workers, the "lilies" swayed precariously as the procession wended through the narrow streets. In the centre of the "lilies" was a boat - symbolic of the one by which St. Paulinus returned to Nola after captivity in Africa. Imprisoned by the Moors, he was eventually returned by their King - also represented in the boat by a statute.
In response to public feeling St. Paulinus was appointed Archbishop of Nola in 409 - an unusual method of appointment even in those days. A great benefactor, he supported the poor, built churches, and lived a semi-monastic life. Son of the Prefect of Gaul, he himself was born in Bordeaux, France, and spent his early life in public service. Later he was baptized and ordained priest, eventually settling in Nola where he owned land.