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Saucy Ship's a Beauty!

Perhaps Peppe--our beloved and esteemed resident theologian and historian of the churches of Ischia-- might provide us some information about the strong nautical theme of the Soccorso Chapel interior, and about the small altar on the north wall!

While awaiting, I'll play my favorite Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, "HMS Pinafore." Let's sing all together, now:

We sail the ocean blue
and our saucy ship's a beauty.

We're sober men and true,
and attentive to our duty!

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Hi my friend, I'm here.
Your photos are the best I've seen. So let me tell about the ships and more ("ex voto").

The “ex voto” (believers' gifts for the grace received by God) of this Church testify the connection between this sanctuary and the sailors. One of the most great fear of the sailor is the sea-storm.
When the sailors place in the church the model their own ships, they put their own life in the hands of God, especially in the church where a wood crucifix saved in the sea after a storm.

Many sailors and fishermen saved in the sea-storms offered “ex voto” in this Church and you can see some of these, the others, hundreds of “ex voto”, we have no more.
In the sacristy, as soon as you enter, you can find a shipmodel (length 1,5 mt.) built by the sailors in the past to protect the crew.
Besides there is the “gold of the crucifix”: you can see it on the crucifix only every 25 years, during the procession, and a lot of small silver “ex voto” representing arms, eyes, heads, hands, legs, restore to health by the prayers.

The anchor and the ship carved on the walls represent the “decima” (percentage): up to a little while ago the fishermen offered this “decima” when they sold the fish, like a devotion, to support the necessities of the temple or the augustinian monks. A lot of pictures, (always “ex voto”), in the sacristy, tell about sea-storms and rescues, with prayers to Holy Maria del Soccorso.

Your photo with altar has a writing saying: 14th century stone altar, discovered and under restore”. This is a stone altar, but we didn't know until we had discovered it 2 years ago; this year, restoring, we discovered two stone altars. The whole church was a stone church in the 14th century, then, just as you wrote, has changed. It was widened three times and you can see three ceilings with three different styles. This Church is now like a mexican Church, white, but inside you can find a lot of baroque style.

The external majolicas came from Amalfi with the classical “compass-card”, Amalfi’s emblem and a lot of Saints, like Peter, Paulus, Andreas... are represented. All the south italian churches had the Amalfi or Vietri’s floor. The stone cross, on the square, stays where a small chapel built. The small chapel, with the church’s dome, fell down by the earthquake in the 1883.

Soccorso is today under the protection of the “UNESCO”

That’s all friend.

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