Church of Madonna of Constantinople

Located in the town of Oppidi-Varano, this little church has very distant origins and we have compiled two versions to try and explain them to you.
The first has it that a worker during the works for the construction of a driveway in today's Oppidi, found by pure chance a Byzantine-style painting depicting the image of Santa Maria and, in the exact point of the discovery, the inhabitants built a chapel in honor of that Madonna.
The second, after careful investigations, seems to us to be the more truthful. It is said that a member of the Naymoli di Oppidi family, a monk at the Salerno monastery of Sant'Agostino (current institutional building of the Province), is the true protagonist of this story.
At the time, masonry work was being carried out in that monastery and a laborer headed towards the nearby beach to get the sand from the sea, found something solid under his pickaxe. Stopped on hearing that noise, he discovered with great amazement a painting, which probably arrived there due to a shipwreck.
Once cleaned, it was discovered that it was the effigy of the Madonna of Constantinople and at that precise moment the bells of the convent began to ring alone. With great joy, the monks immediately brought the Sacred Image inside the structure.
Once the Campagnase monk arrived in Campagna with his family and was struck by what had happened, he decided to paint the same work on the outside wall of their home that had been found shortly before in Salerno. The Augustinians of Campagna, having learned of the prodigy, immediately took action to make one too in the church of the Annunziata, adjacent to their convent (today's Palazzo di Città).
Over time, it was decided to build a small aedicule which incorporated the image to certainly preserve it but also to allow the many wayfarers to be able to stop and dedicate vows and prayers.
The building was then enlarged in 1937 due to the interest of local families.
The current church, restored after the 1980 earthquake, has a masonry high altar with three niches in one of which the statue of Saint Lucia was placed before the new church dedicated to her was built in the town of Varano, while on the wall the image of Santa is frescoed on the right Maria di Constantinopoli and above the entrance there is a wooden pulpit where there was most likely a small organ.

Text edited by Cristian Viglione.
Revisions: Francesco Pezzuti.

1. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le fabbriche religiose. - VOL. M - pag. 137 - anno 2004
2. Valentino Izzo - Raccontare Campagna...Le fabbriche religiose. - VOL. M - pag. 138 - anno 2004

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