The forty hours’ devotion machine in Santa Maria dell’Orto in Rome: candles for maundy thursday

Apr 03, 2015 762

Every year, for centuries, 213 candles have lit up the church of Santa Maria dell'Orto in Trastevere, Rome. The brothers of the confraternity of the same name, founded by pope Alexander VI in 1492, keep alive the 17th-century tradition of the "Macchina delle Quarantore" (Forty Hours' Devotion Machine), with what is said to be the last intact device of its kind.

The "Machine" – in this case, a 19th-century wooden structure enriched with Baroque floral decorations – is a symbol of Jesus's tomb, and set up on the major altar of the 16th-century church after the evening mass held on the first day of the Paschal Triduum.

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