The Good Friday procession at Enna ,  with its rows of silent, eerily hooded figures preceding a blood stained Christ and anguished Madonna through the city’s narrow streets, is so well known and widely publicised that, when I visited Enna at Easter,  I was half expecting to have the feeling that I’d seen it all before.    Instead, I found I was part of an ancient, but living and surprisingly moving, ritual – and that all the images and preconceived ideas  I’d brought with me completely disappeared.

It all started with a chance encounter on the street that morning.  It was a perfect Spring morning, sunny and warm, but the narrow streets of the city were still shaded and we had set out to find somewhere for coffee in the sun.    The young man, possibly a university student,  who gave us directions continued, spontaneously and with irrepressible enthusiasm, to tell us something about the procession that would take place later in the day.  He talked, in particular,  about his church and confraternity which, being  the oldest in Enna, has the honour of carrying the statue of the dead Christ in the procession.  His enthusiasm was compelling and, as he talked, I realised that, unwittingly, he had given me just what I had been looking for –  a way in.  The Confraternity of the College of SS. Salvatore would be my starting point.

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