Gouvernement Princier de Monaco
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16 January 2020 Press release

Saint Devota celebrations

Copyright - DR

Events to celebrate St. Devota, patron saint of Monaco, will take place on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 January.

These celebrations are among the Principality of Monaco’s oldest traditions, and have permeated the national culture in areas as diverse as religion, folklore, popular beliefs, history, literature, the arts, painting, music, coins and stamps.

The tradition derives from the so-called “Legend of St. Devota” passed down through a medieval document. It holds a special place in the heart of Monegasques.

According to the legend, Devota, a young Christian woman from Corsica, was martyred by the prefect Barbarus under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. Her body, believed to have been removed the following night by believers, was placed in a boat and taken to Monaco to be buried in a chapel in the Vallon des Gaumates on 27 January of the year 303 or 304.

Under Honoré II in the seventeenth century, St. Devota became the patron saint of Monaco.

According to a tradition established in the 1870s, every year a boat is burned on a pyre in the presence of the Sovereign, the Royal Family and numerous high-profile figures from Monaco. Following the burning of the boat, there is a musical fireworks display on Port Hercule.

On 27 January, the day of the festival, a solemn mass is celebrated in the Cathedral by the Archbishop of Monaco. This religious ceremony is attended by the Royal Family, the Prince’s Government, the elected assemblies and constitutional bodies, and many of the faithful. After the ceremony, a procession involving Penitents of the Brotherhood of Mercy heads towards the Prince’s Palace with the shrine containing the relics, escorted by the Palace Guards.

The procession then comes to a halt on Place du Palais. A guard of honour and the orchestra of the Palace Guards greet the procession and an officiant blesses the Royal Family with the relics. The procession then makes its way to the ramparts where another officiant blesses the city and its people. Finally, it returns to the front of the Cathedral where a final officiant blesses the sea and fishermen.

For more information, see: www.saintedevotemonaco.com


Saint Devota celebrations:



10.30 am Church of St. Devota: Mass of the Traditions, in Monegasque. 

Blessing of the Sea

* * *

6.40 pm Procession departs

Route de la Piscine – Opposite Le Nautic restaurant

6.45 pm Arrival of the Boat

Quai Jarland (Route de la Piscine) -

Release of the dove 

Presentation of relics and blessing of the city

(in the presence of the Palace Guards)

Continuation of procession

* * *

7 pm Church of St. Devota: Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,

presided over by His Grace Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco,
in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and the Royal Family

* * *

7.30 pm Forecourt of the Church of St. Devota:
Burning of the Symbolic Boat by the Royal Family

* * *

Afterwards, from Quai Rainier III: Musical Fireworks Display

presented by Flash Art Monaco Entertainment



9.50 am Cathedral: Welcoming of the Relics by Members of the

Clergy and the Venerable Brotherhood of Mercy

* * *

10 am Cathedral: Pontifical Mass presided over by

His Grace Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco

Musical Programme

Entrance: Great Organ

Opening hymn: Cantique à Sainte Dévote (Canticle for St. Devota) – Monsignor Louis-Lazare Perruchot

Ordinary: Missa brevis VIII de Angelis – Henri Carol

(alternating plainsong/polyphony)

Responsorial psalm 33: Qui regarde vers Dieu resplendira (Those Who Look to Him Are Radiant) – Jean Revert

(three sung verses)

Alleluia: No. 1 en ré mineur (No. 1 in D Minor) – Philippe Maze

Credo: III

Universal prayer: Seigneur entend la prière qui monte de nos cœurs (Lord, Hear the Prayer in Our Hearts)

Offertory: Great Organ

Anamnesis:    Il est grand le mystère de la Foi (Great is the Mystery of Faith)

Communion: Great Organ

Communion hymn: Chante le Seigneur mon âme (My Soul Sings the Saviour) – John Goss / Jean-Paul Lécot

Prayer for H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince

Solemn Pontifical Blessing

Exit: Great Organ

Cathedral Choir and Little Singers of Monaco

Conductor: Pierre Debat, Chapel Master

Great Organ: Olivier Vernet, Resident Organist

Choir Organ: Jean-Cyrille Gandillet, Resident Organist


*    *    *

11.15 am Monaco-Ville: Solemn Procession of the Relics

                        led by His Grace Bernard Barsi and with the participation of:

members of the Clergy

the Cathedral Choir and Penitents of the Venerable Brotherhood of Mercy

a delegation from Lucciana Municipal Council

and the Musique Municipal orchestra

Route: Depart from the Cathedral Forecourt 

Rue Colonel Bellando de Castro,

Place du Palais: Blessing of the Sovereign House,

From the Ramparts: Blessing of the City,

Return to the Cathedral via Rue Colonel Bellando de Castro

Cathedral forecourt: BLESSING OF THE SEA


Mgr Barsi will bid his farewell and will give thanks for the blessings received from God during his episcopacy. Following the mass and procession, a reception will be held in the Conference Room at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.


4 pm Church of St. Devota: Organ Concert

Organ concert by Diego Cannizzaro,

Resident Organist at Cefalù Cathedral (Sicily)

Works by Scarlatti, Buxtehude, Daquin, Bach, Morandi and Quirici


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