The Cathars are back in Monforte


PROGRAM I Catari and Monforte: a millenary story, to which the town of Langa returns to dedicate a historical re-enactment. The first editions date back to the years between 1979 and 1982: in the evenings of Friday 2 And Saturday 3 September the country will return to 1028, when the group of heretics (one of the first, later they would also be called Albigensians) was captured and then brought to Milan where many members were burned at the stake.

Behind the organization there is, now as then, Adolfo Ivaldi: «There is great enthusiasm in the town, we involved about 150 extras, all from Montfort. It sounds unbelievable, but now the speeches you hear in bars are about the Cathars and heresy. Everyone has a say about him, as is usually the case with football. And to think that, fifty years ago, no one knew the story. The push to resume the re-enactment came with the publication of the book by Maurizio Rosso The castle of the Cathars and the making of the film Bogre (in language d’oc, Bulgarian, referring to the Bogomils, from which Catharism derived, ed) by Fredo Valla ».

As Ivaldi explains, «the first news came from a book by Domenico Garelli, from Turin with a home in Monforte, which reports what was encountered in the Milanese and Church archives. There have been subsequent studies and insights, also thanks to Giorgio Barberi Squarotti, who had a house in the village. It seems that the Cathars of Monforte were the first to be sent to torture. The number is uncertain: there are those who say thirty and those who say three hundred, no document mentions it, not even what was reported by the contemporary Landolfo Seniore ». A complex story and the re-enactment will serve to make it easy to understand.

The first appointment was held on Sunday with the inauguration of the photographic exhibition on the backstage of Valla’s film, which will remain open until 14 September, with opening on weekends from 3 to 7 pm. The following day the boys of the middle school who worked on the unfinished poem by Giovanni Berchet The castle of the Cathars. Tonight, Tuesday 30, at 9.30 pm, the singer-songwriter in the Horszowski auditorium Cesare Malfatti, grandson of Garelli, with Chiara Castello proposes songs inspired by Cathar songs. About ten compositions, interspersed with explanations aimed at historically framing the events.

On Wednesday 31, at 9 pm, the presentation of the book will be held in the Sant’Agostino brotherhood Monforte d’Alba. Story of a heresy, published by Aragno. The volume contains the text by Garelli and the addition of contents by Fredo Valla and Adolfo Ivaldi, as well as the album by Malfatti. There are also descriptions of the monuments and churches of Monforte, with black and white photos by Bruno Murialdo. During the evening, the interventions will be interspersed with the music of Valter Porro.

After Thursday’s dress rehearsal, the reenactment will go on scene at 9.30pm on Friday and Saturday. The town will be closed to traffic and illuminated with torches. Ivaldi explains: «In recent months we have drawn up a canvas, we will stage various episodes of Cathar life in Piazza Umberto I, in the middle of the historic center and in the Horszowski auditorium, where the final torture will take place. The show will include processions, acting parts and historical explanations. The expenditure of forces was enormous, there are those who took care of the lyrics, some of the direction, the soundtrack, the costumes. It will also be a way to explain how this heresy, which through the contrast between good and evil aimed at denouncing the corruption and decay of the customs of the Church, spread on a large scale, from Bulgaria to southern France ”. Everyone will wear period costumes and the actors will keep the diction of time.

On Sunday, at 5.30 pm, the winners of the “Monforte d’Alba award – The courage of heresy” will be awarded in the municipal theater: they are the mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, and the mayor of Carema, Fulvio Vairos: a metropolis and a small village. As Ivaldi explains: «In Sala we recognized the courage of having organized the Expo in 2015 in the midst of many difficulties. Vairos administers a municipality where viticulture is heroic. In general, if a mayor wants to do well, he must be a little heretic. “

In the evening, at 8.30 pm, in piazza Fratelli Vola the Pro loco will serve the Cathar dinner. The menu (cost: 25 euros) includes dishes based on vegetables and fish, respecting the ingredients known in Europe at the time. To participate, you must book at 366-90.74.522 and wear a period dress, provided by the organizers to those without one.

Mayor Livio Genesio he comments: «The event will be biennial, but every year we will organize something. We are also planning visits beyond the Alps in search of Cathar centers. And of course we are aiming for the celebrations of 2028, when the thousand years will run. They have been months of work and great commitment to make known a fundamental episode for the history of our Municipality. Some scholars and administrators from Catalonia have already confirmed their presence ».

Davide Barile

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The Cathars are back in Monforte