Friday, August 7, 2015


The pilgrim 3.0 is born. Version that should be interpreted according to the Latin maxim "Trinitas fiat, ex nihilo nihil", for those uninitiated in numerology. "Trinity happens, nothing from nothing."

Words are too slow, today. Decidedly ambiguous. Everything runs at the speed of light; the reason that why - better than an emoticon - the number is king. And worrying numbers are also and especially the arrivals of believers to the Holy Land, which - according to statistics of the office of Israel Tourism in Italy - have never flirted levels so close to that zero already able to keep the Scholasticism followers awake at night. 

It's true: the specter of Is hovers over the Middle East, the downturn bites consumptions, yet it catches on the suspect that, in the evolutionary leap occurred at the Web-era pilgrim, something genetically inherent to its status has gone lost.

Visiting the birth places of the saints and of Jesus Christ is no longer a perilous venture, nor a moral duty; it does not offer an escape from a too narrow village or family, nor it is of service to expiate properly. The pilgrimage, as already "The Canterbury Tales" feared and Norbert Ohler clearly anticipated in his "The Medieval Traveller", has become a pleasant diversion for feeling yourself an elected part of your own local church. Or at least, for the most.

Far from hasty generalizations, which certainly don’t do justice to those who still feel the sacred flame burning in their heart, however there’s no doubt that the excesses of Western technology are assuming what it never was, indeed.

There are those who have launched an app designed just to remove every trouble along believer's road, as the highly acclaimed "Buencamino" (meaning the Camino de Santiago de Compostela), or the "UmrahSalam" for Muslims aiming for Makkah, without forgetting the super smart "Iclesia", sort of social network to be constantly updated on your parish vicissitudes. 

On board of El Al aircrafts, it’s enough opening the in-flight magazine "Atmosphere" and sliding your finger to the bottom of the first page: "May it be Thy will, Lord of Heaven and Earth, to lead us to peace and safety. To fly us in peace and safety to our Desired destination, to find life, joy and peace ... ".

Thus begins the new prayer of Pilgrim3.0, that one who has replaced the merchant ship or the thorny path with a powerful Boeing of the Israeli flag company, on which you can simply familiarize using a chat board. Or meditate while sitting on seats which boast one of the best "pitch" of the circuit: in plebeian words, the distance between one place and another.

They are the latest version of the famous "Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago", the fifth book of Liber Sancti Jacobi: text for privileged who once gave rise to travel literature and, today, has instead delivered a downloadable pdf, courteously designed for Holy Sepulchre's visit, including old or three-dimensional maps.

Pilgrims are running out, but the road seems more open than ever: no more devious tricks of innkeepers, pitfalls in the forest, scams of false ecclesiastics or risk of being enslaved by some pirate on the way. No Saracen ready to cut your fingers to grab precious rings. Perhaps only the devil has changed his dress, still tempting pilgrim’s integrity with so subtle as invisible vices. "Beyond the political or economic contingencies, the leading cause of a failed pilgrimage is often the time. - highlights Nicola Comparini, director of the diocesan office for pilgrimages in Mantua "S. Anselmo Viaggi"- A week in the Holy Land began to be considered too long, despite the planned legs are always the same. Last June, first in Italy, we therefore launched the formula of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in a single day, showing how the Holy City can be visited in a few hours, like other European capitals. The experiment has got an amazing response and we will continue to repeat this approach, hoping the pilgrimage returns to be lived in its own dimension soon. Between having no pilgrims at all and pilgrims for one day, we are convinced it still worths offering the opportunity to touch the mystery of Jerusalem: those who walk over the holy ground, then always return".

Thanks to the ideal rotation of El Al flights, which allow the departure from Milan Malpensa in the evening, resting on board, landing at dawn and visiting the sacred sites till sunset (Nativity's grotto in Bethlehem included), Israel discovers itself closer to Europe than you may think.

Believer’s itinerary, moreover, is able to provide most of the wonders of the holy city; after contemplating sun’s brush strokes over the roofs from the Mount of Olives and awaited the first ray through the glass walls of the Basilica of Gethsemane, the Kidron Valley invites for a solitary visit to the tombs of the kings; then the inevitable initiation-dip into that two mouths river called Via Dolorosa, cosmopolitan path for anyone who yearns for the golden dome of the Temple Mount, wants to hear Lord’s word among the incense of the Holy Sepulchre, or goes even deeper, even more within himself, till the bowels of underground Jerusalem.

Just enough time to get back in the solemn halls of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame, the modern version of the holy hospice, and you will be three meters above the sky again. Suspended in a blue sky, deep as the blind faith.

Yes. It will return the day to rediscover the virtues of the "Mediterranean strolling" invoked by the philosopher Duccio Demetrio, made of rumination and slowness, of senses re-awakening and vision of unessential; a path along which the step moves forward, free from any constraint. It doesn’t care if this step belongs to a man or a woman, to which history has been so much stingy in granting solitary virtues. Yes, it will return soon. Will certainly come back when pilgrim’s faith will have the strength to believe in the absurd, again.

Further pictures:

A mag created with Madmagz.

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