According to the rare publications on this subject, it could be Saint Vincent Ferrier, born in Valencia in 1350, who created the Good Friday procession, also called the Sanch procession.

Like Jesus, this great Dominican was also accompanied by thousands of faithful. Wherever the Saint went, large processions formed. The penitents traditionally wore dark clothes which are a sign of penitence and humility. Their walk was lead by a character dressed in red, carrying an iron bell.

It is this red caparutxa (penitent) that today gives rhythm to the tragic and slow Sanch procession through the maze of small streets in Perpignan.

On October 11th, 1416, Perpignan created the Sanch archibrotherhood (sanch means blood), in the Saint Jacques Church, in the image of some Spanish cities, such as Sevilla. This brotherhood accompanied the prisoners and the condemned to the place of torture, with the mournful song of “misere des pendus”.

But the procession is not only represented by the brotherhood, there are also two elements which are very important: the misteris and the goigs.

The misteris are full-size representations of the different scenes of the Passionof the Christ. If the 20th century Church does not organize this procession anymore, it is from the fresh half-light of Roussillon chapels that come the Christs with lace petticoats and a deathly pale faces under their long hair. The crying madonnas in their mourning veils, the heart pierced by seven swords are symbolic of the Golgotha.

The Christ carrying his cross and the Christ nailed on the cross end this long procession and they are very realistic. The most impressive element of the procession is the Devout Christ on his ceremonial bed which lays in front of the cathedral.

Finally, in the morning, we can hear the goigs. These traditional songs which, before 15th century were linked to Mary’s joys, originate curiously from 15th century canticles full of sadness, recounting Mary’s suffering in the Calvary.

Updated : Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 14:06