On the day of the benediction and inauguration of the third kinetic chapel in Brečevići, the entire village was present and people came from neighbouring villages as well a from the town of Pazin and other prominent places in Istria. The parish priest from Tinjan whom we had approached the day before (a bit short-noticed, I know) held a beautiful sermon and enlightened us about the saint we had created a home for in our village.

Saint Martin de Tours was a Roman knight born in 316 AD. Later in his life he would become the bishop of Tours.  His shrine became a famous stopping point for the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

In several parts of Europe St. Martin’s day is celebrated by eating a roasted goose. The ritual is seen as a punishment for the animal.  Martin, bishop of Tours, who didn’t want to become a part of the church hierarchy, hid in the bushes when they came for his annunciation. His hideout was exposed by the sound of geese.

In Croatia, St. Martin is associated with wine. There is an old (pre-Christian) custom of “baptizing” young wine on the St. Martin’s day called ‘Martinje’.  The participants of this ritual dress up and take the roles of judge, bishop, godmother and godfather of the wine.

Amusingly, most locals in Brečevići, didn’t have the vaguest idea about our interpretation of St. Martin, a Roman legionnaire sharing his cloak with a beggar. Brečevići thought St. Martin was some kind of a wine-maker and didn’t really know about this story. Thus the sermon held by the parish priest was remarkably inspiring and it connected with all people present.

The priest underlined that this particular saint is about mercifulness and taking care of the smallest, weakest, most exposed among us.

But the wine thing is important folklore; and luckily Đani had added the relief of an old wine-maker getting to ready to dig in on the side of the chapel!

Part 6 out of 6

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