Gli amboni della cattedrale di Salerno e la liturgia riformata di Romualdo II Guarna

Author: Nino Zchomelidse

The Pulpits of the Cathedral of Salerno and the reformed Liturgy of Romualdo II Guarna

This article discusses the introduction of a new type of liturgical furnishings for the cathedral of Salerno under the patronage of Archbishop Romualdo II Guarna. Instead of the traditional arrangement of a single ambo with scenes of Jonah being swallowed and spit out by the whale, a setting of two symmetrically arranged pulpits with different iconographical programs was developed at a time after the conquest of southern Italy by the Normans in the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The new arrangement points to the alliances made between the Norman knights and rulers and papal Rome. Since the second half of the eleventh century, the popes had forcefully promoted the Roman liturgy, in particular the Divine Office, as the sole liturgical practice everywhere in Italy. The reform resulted in Rome in the conception of a nave enclosure, including two or even three pulpits designed for the singing of chants and antiphons of the new liturgy and the reading of the Holy Scripture. I argue that under the influence of Rome, the two monumental pulpits in the cathedral of Salerno were conceived from the beginning as a double stage. They were used by the members of the cathedral choir (schola cantorum) for the performance of the Divine Office, the liturgy of the Word, and the Easter celebrations. This claim is supported with an analysis of the unpublished liturgical manuscripts from the Salerno cathedral archive, which document the liturgical practices at the time of their making under the pontificate of Archbishop Romualdo II Guarna. Particularly revealing is the reconstruction of the Palm Sunday festivities, because they took place in the city itself. The liturgy traditionally performed inside the church was transferred to the outside, utilizing the entire urban area of the city. The new rite transformed the liturgy into a recreation of the biblical story and turned Salerno into Holy Jerusalem, merging the ideas of city (civitas) and church (ecclesia).