“Queen of the mountains of Oropa”. This is how the Virgin of Oropa is invoked: with the title of Queen, explains Don Paolo Boffa, Vicar of the Diocese of Biella. The wooden statue of the Madonna, with a crown sculpted on Her head, is a Queen. As someone pointed out, She becomes the throne of the Infant Jesus in Her arm: He is the King .
Is the coronation of 2020 an outmoded gesture? Is it a legacy of another time? A gesture that, if repeated today, can appear superficial to the current society?
To put the crown on the head of the Madonna and Child is to say that “Oropa belongs to everyone”, to the thousands of people that comes to the Sanctuary every year: a strong bond, which is much more than a tradition and which has made Oropa a destination that has become part of the habit of many people from all over the world.
“Every era has its crown“: every era has its own way of expressing the particular bond that binds us to that image. Excluding the use of crowns preserved in the Museum of the Treasures of the Sanctuary, which belong to an imperial language that would not speak to the people of our time, the question remains: how to design two crowns that speak of a gesture of trust of the devotees of the Madonna di Oropa?
The Diocese of Biella in collaboration with the National Office of Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage of the Italian Episcopal Conference, has announced a competition of ideas for the design and the construction of two crowns for the statue of the Virgin Mary and the Jesus Child.
By the end of November 2019 the winner will be proclaimed; by May 2020 the crowns will be delivered to the Diocese and then brought with a gesture of faith to Oropa, ready for Sunday 30 August 2020.