The Feast of the Christened
DUE TO THE HEALTH EMERGENCY THE EVENT WAS CANCELED
Like all the years, to mark the feast day of Florence's patron Saint John the Baptist, some children and their families resident in the province of Florence, will gather in the baptistry to reaffirm their bond with the Florentine Church, joining Cardinal Betori in the "beautiful San Giovanni" (as Dante, who was christened here himself, calls it in the 19th canto of the Inferno), in the context of an initiative promoted by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Archdiocese of Florence. The event, designed to recall and to give thanks for the gift of the sacrament, aims to become a permanent fixture in the celebrations organised to honour the city's patron saint.
"Just as Dante become a Florentine in the ‘beautiful San Giovanni’", the archbishop of Florence writes in a message delivered to all of the families present, "so a special bond with the Church through the baptistry and the cathedral is reaffirmed for you too here today. This simple gesture renews both your ecclesiastical and civic identity while confirming your membership of the community of the faithful and of the citizens. In the name of the whole Church of Florence, I wish you a splendid journey of light in the faith and in the community".
From Vespucci to the Mona Lisa and from Meucci to Collodi, numerous famous personalities have been christened in the baptistry of Florence, their names listed in the christening registers kept in the Archive of the OperadiSantaMariadelFiore. The baptistry housed the only baptismal font in the city until the diocesan synods of 1935 and 1945, so all Christians born in Florence received the first sacrament here. These registers are therefore an irreplaceable document recording the birth of Florentine citizens born after the middle of the 15th century.
Florence's christening registers are particularly ancient if we compare them with those of other cities because the obligation to record the names of the christened was only sanctioned by the Council of Trent in 1563, and before that, by the synod of 1517 for the diocese of Florence. The rectors of the baptistry of San Giovanni, however, had begun to keep a record of christenings on 4 November 1450, even going as far as to double their efforts in 1472 when the names of the christened were noted down daily in small monthly notebooks and then transcribed into larger, more permanent volumes at a later date. These two parallel series were kept in the Archivio of the Operadi S. Giovanni, and were transferred to the Opera di S.Maria del Fiore after 1777. The registers were moved to the TribunalediPrimaIstanza law court by order of the French government of the city in 1812 but were returned to the Opera only two years later. The Archive of the OperadelDuomostill holds the registers from 1450to1900, while all subsequent registers are kept in the Curia Arcivescovile, the administrative offices of the archdiocese of Florence.