There is a village in Northern Italy named Domodossola where there is a model Calvary –  representing the scenes of Holy Week and what happened to Jesus during those last momentous days of his life on earth.

There is a hillside at this place, and from the bottom of the hill upwards there is a series of small chapels or shrines each depicting with life-size terracotta figures, one of the scenes of Jesus’ passion.

Visitors can look at a scene showing Jesus before Pilate…Jesus carrying his cross…and so on.

Eventually, visitors reach a chapel that shows Jesus hanging from the cross.

Now, up to this point, the path running between the shrines is well worn by the feet of countless pilgrims coming to look at Jesus’ suffering and death.

But then the path becomes overgrown with grass – it’s clear that it’s little used.

If, however, people were to continue to the summit of the hill, there is another shrine: The Chapel of the Resurrection.

Sadly, very few people take the trouble to visit it.  They stop short at the place where the crucifixion is depicted.

Those who built this model Calvary had not forgotten that Jesus rose from the tomb – but most of those who come to Domodossola to pay homage to Jesus, seem to miss out this most wonderful of all miracles.


D.H. Lawrence wrote this:

“The churches loudly assert: we preach Christ crucified!

But in doing so, they preach only half of the passion, and do only half their duty.

The creed says: ‘He was crucified, died, and was buried…the third day he rose again from the dead’.

And again ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body,’ so that to preach Christ crucified is to preach half the truth.

 It is the business of the Church to preach Christ born among men which is Christmas, Christ crucified which is Good Friday, and Christ risen which is Easter.

And after Easter, till November and All Saints, and till Annunciation, the year belongs to the risen Lord: that is all the full flowering summer and the autumn of wheat and fruit.  All belong to Christ risen.

 But the churches insist on Christ crucified and rob us of the blossom and fruit of the year.

 The resurrection is to LIFE, not to death.  Can I not then walk this earth in gladness being risen from sorrow?  Is the flesh that was crucified become as poison to the crowds in the street, or is it a strong blossoming out of the earth’s humus?”

Dali's Christ of St John on the cross

Dali’s Christ of St.John of the Cross

The painting is known as the “Christ of Saint John of the Cross”, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th century Spanish friar Saint John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the ‘three’ but in the four, merry they be (Wikipedia)


Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

3 responses to “Domodossola


  2. Pingback: Witness the Story of Easter in Rome: Buona Pasqua | Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events

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