A unique tradition in the Duomo: olive and palm branchesfrom Recco
PalmSunday, which falls on 14 April this year, features the highly evocative and absorbing rite of the Blessing and Procession of Olive and PalmBranches,personally celebrated by the Archbishop in theDuomo.
Until a few years ago, the procession began at the side altar dedicated to San Giovanni Bono, who was Bishop of Milan at a particularly difficult time in the history of the Milanese Church. In fact,afterthe Bishops of Milan moved to Genoa in voluntary exilein 569 due to the Longobard invasion, it was San Giovanni Bono―as related by the tradition of Recco, in the province of Genoa―who brought back the episcopal see to Milan in the mid-600s.
As a result of these historical bonds, a delegation from the Parish and Municipality of Recco yearly visits Milan to offer to the successor of their illustrious fellow citizen palm and olive branches, a festive sign of Easter peace.
This custom, which has been documented at least from the time of Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini (1954 - 1963),still continues today with the transport from Liguria to the Construction Yard of theDuomo of olive and palm branches from Recco, and with the recent custom of celebratingHoly Massat the altar of the saint for all the faithful on the Thursday before Palm Sunday.