Mellili and Saint Sebastian

3 May

We took a drive north of Siracusa in our SmartCar  to a little town named Mellili.  Mellili is the source of the Italian word miele “honey” and my thought was we might see some hives and be able to buy some honey from a Sicilian beekeeper.  It turns out Mellili was an ancient source of honey but the town appears beeless.

Undaunted we discovered that the town was preparing for their yearly church festival, the festival of Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of their church. Saint Sebastian was a martyr killed in a shower of arrows as you can see below.

On the first night of the festival, the faithful walk barefoot to honor their patron saint painfully climbing a steep cobblestone hill.  The procession is lit by dozens of 5 foot beeswax tapers. The pilgrimage ends at the cathedral.

Though Mellili  is a tiny village, it has an elaborate cathedral filled with religious art. Something we are seeing frequently in Sicily.

215px-Sebastia.jpg (215×292)

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