Santa Maria dell'Orto

Anonimo sec XV (affresco) - Madonna dell'Orto The spoliation of the economic properties by the italian state has caused the loss of means of sustenance and then the deletion of any initiative that is not of simply custody of the church and his liturgical tradition.
The progressive exodus of merchants coincided witha growing replacement in the social class of the members, who at the present time are above all employee, pensioners, professional men.
The present purposes of Society are mainly of cult and Christian testimony. All the obligation days are celebrated with solemnity in which usually some high prelate takes part, purposely invited.
The brothers dress is still today the traditional suit sodale in occasion of Holy Mass. During such celebrations they recite the special Oration to St. Mary and at the end they sing “Salve Regina”. According to the code of canon law, the Archebroterhood is defined as a “public association of believers”. It is classified as an “ecclesiastic company”, but is provided also of the civil juridical recognition.
The institutional aims of the Society are those indicated in the article number 2 of Statute, approved in February 11 2005 by Camillo Ruini, Cardinal Vicar of Holy Father for the Diocese of Rome:

  • encourage the brothers with oppurtune initiatives to put charity as fundamental moment of own Christian experience and of ecclesial mission exspecially for a member of the Archbrotherhood;
  • provoke in each brother the burning wish of a constant engagement in the way of faith, in the prayer, and in the personal spiritual life, with central reference to the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, day of God;
  • promote and improve Mary’s cult and the devoutness to Santa Maria dell’Orto, patron of the Archbrotherhood;
  • realise initiatives for the religious and spiritual formation of the brothers;
  • live an assiduous and fruitful engagement in the custody and in the celebration of the ancient religious traditions, patrimony of the Archbrotherhood and of the Roman spiritual tradition;
  • keep still alive the climate of brotherhood and comparison with other associations, in the spirit of communion indicated at the Second Diocesan Synod of Rome;
  • promote initiatives of charitable and social character, compatibly with the real possibilities of the brothers and always decided in collective way according to the rules of the present Statute, taking in mind the peculiarities of secular history of the Archbrotherhood, of the universal vocation of the Church and of the diocesan pastoral project;
  • promote and develop the study and the harvesting of documentation concerning the life of the Archbrotherhood and of the other Roman associations.

No extraordinary requirements is needed to enter the Archbrotherhood: it is a free association of Catholics united by the same objective. All baptised persons (male or female) who profess the Catholic Faith can be admitted after a suited period of proof or “novitiate“. Perfect morality and correct public behaviour are also basic features. According to the current general canonical dispositions, all people who profess and/or support in any shape contrary ideologies to the Faith and to the Catholic Church cannot be inscribed to the Archbrotherhood. The clergymen can be part of the Society also. The Archbrotherhood is governed by a “Private Congregation” (board of directors) constituted by six "Guardians" and chaired by the "Camerlengo" (manager and legal representative). The members meeting is called “General Congregation”, which elects each three years the own government. The ecclesiastic authority is represented by the Primicerius, a prelate purposely designated by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome and who has also the Rector's task of the church.

Santa Maria dell'OrtoArchbrotherhood Organization Chart

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Santa Maria dell'Orto

The indulgences allowed by the Supreme Pontiffs are certainly one of the spiritual privileges that during the centuries came dispensed to us. Those indulgences were a sort of special graces by which the Pope wanted to return honour to one of the highest Societies of the city of Rome.
Generally such privileges were allowed in relation to particular events, but a great Pope like Gregorio XIII, in April 22 1578, wanted to fix in perpetual some rules that are valid still today.
From the Statute of 1842 – that regulated the life of the Society up to 1987 – we have extracted a resume that is divided into four principal strongholds:

  • - plenary Indulgence to all the followers of both sex who – confessed and communicated –  join the Archbrotherhood. It is also possible to purchase the indulgence “in articulo mortis".

  • - plenary Indulgence to all the members who, on the Holy Thursday, will visit St. Peter Cathedral and St. Sacrament shown in the Paolina Chapel. The Confession and the Communion are also preparatory and fundamental elements.

  • - plenary Indulgence to all the members who, confessed and communicated, will visit the church or the oratory of Santa Maria dell’Orto praying “for the union of christian’s principles, the extirpation of the Heresies and exaltation of the Church”. Being changed the time, the first of the three intentions can be easy substituted with “for the peace in the world” or equivalent concept. Such indulgences can be gained only in concomitance with exact religious solemnity: Christmas and Easter; Nativity, Annunciation, Purification and Acceptance of St. Mary; holiday of St Francis of Assisi, on October 4.

  • - everything covered in the preceding paragraph it is extended to Sunday between the eighth one of the Corpus Domini and to every Friday of March.

    - the last indulgence allowed to Archbrotherhood should be the one that is obtained in occasion of the Jubilee of 1825. On behalf of the reigning Pontiff, Leone XII, the Vicar Cardinal Placido Zurla allowed jubilee indulgence “for the members of the Archbrotherhood of Santa Maria dell’Orto who will go in procession one time to the basilica of St. Peter on September 29  and alone another five times”

    - In the same occasion the Archbrotherhood, as further recognizion of his glourious past, was decored with the title "Venerable" and authorized to use this appellative as integral part of his denomination.