WEDNESDAY - the Procession of Sorrows

Wednesday is marked by the Procession of Sorrows (Procissão das Dores), in which the image of Our Lady of Sorrows is processed through the streets. During the procession the choir performs the Motets of Sorrows, a set comprising three motets by Manoel Dias de Oliveira. The original verson of this set had four motets, but the 4th one is unknown in Campanha. Since there are seven stops along the procession route, the sequence is performed twice, and the first motet is sung a third time upon arrival back at the Cathedral, where the image of Our Lady of Sorrows is placed for devotion.

  The 1st Motet of Sorrows, Cui comparabo te, has the following text:  

Cui comparabo te? Vel cui assimilabo te, filia Jerusalem? Magna est velut mare contritio tua, quis medebitur tui?

To what shall I compare you or to what shall I liken you, daughter of Jerusalem? For great as the sea is your destruction, who shall heal you?

  The 2nd Motet of Sorrows, Facta est, has the following text:  

Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium; princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.

She has become as a widow, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces is subjrct to tribute!

  The 3rd Motet of Sorrows, O vos omnes, uses the same text as the 5th Motet of the Stations and of the Song of Veronica (Canto de Verônica):  

O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videre si est dolor sicut dolor meus.

Oh, all who pass this way, look and see if there is sorrow like my sorrow:

  In the past the Wednesday evening procession was followed by the first day of the 'Ceremony of Darkness' (Ofício de Trevas), a particularly complex and dramatic ritual, which was abandoned several decades ago, a loss many locals still greatly lament. The ceremony derives from an early Christian tradition in which fifteen candles were slowly blown out one by one, until only one was left; all other lights in the church were extinguished to enhance the effect of the single candle. This was meant to represent the life of Christ that was coming to an end. The last candle was then hidden from view, and in this total darkness the congregation would begin to stamp their feet as loudly as possible. Some claim this represented the resurrection, while others hold that it represented the chaos in the world during the absence of Christ. Suddenly light was restored to the church, ending the ritual. Today São João del-Rei proudly clim to be the only place in Minas Gerais where the Ceremony of Darkness is still performed.