The Madonna who unties the knots, the miraculous Madonnina in the Church of the Pietà dei Turchini

by Francesca Horse

The Madonna who melts the knots is a strange and little known figure towards which a particular devotion was born. Leaving from Augusta, in Germany, she arrived here in our city where a particular rite. The cult, with the help of a young man Pope francesco before his election as pontiff, he was taken to Latin America. The reference church where the rite takes place is the Church of the Pietà dei Turchini, in Via Medina.

A cult that comes from a work of art

The cult has a strange origin. Born from the personal story of a German painter, Johann Georg Schmidtner. The work was commissioned by a noble, Wolfgang Langenmantel, which was passing through a difficult married life. In fact, immediately after the wedding, which was sealed during the ceremony by a tape which was knotted around the hands of the spouses, various problems arose between the two.

For three long years after the marriage, the two spouses could not get along. The wife, at every argument, added a knot to that tape used during the wedding. The relationship between the two was close to divorce, when Wolfgang Langenmantel went to an almost sanctified priest, father Jakob Rem, who recommended prayer to the Most Holy Mary.

At the fourth meeting the ribbon full of knots was worn during the prayer, ei knots miraculously untied. The relationship between the two spouses was therefore saved by prayer and for this reason the nobleman decided to commission a painting to celebrate the new married life by prayer

The Madonna who unties the knots, the work of art that has reached Naples

The original work is preserved in the church of St. Peter, to Augusta in Germany. But how did this work get to Naples? And the rite, what does it really consist of despite not having it in any country of Europe?

La Madonna che scioglie i nodi, la Madonnina miracolosa nella Chiesa della Pietà dei Turchini
Original painting of the Madonna untying the knots

The cult developed thanks to a faithful reproduction of the work in the Church of the Pietà dei Turchini. In honor of this reproduction, the miracles of the Madonna that unties the knots. The ritual provides for tie a white handkerchief, close it in a reliquary and, during the monthly ceremony to the Blessed Virgin Mary who unties the knots, the contents of the reliquary will be burned.

La Madonna che scioglie i nodi, la Madonnina miracolosa nella Chiesa della Pietà dei Turchini
Interior of the Church of the Pietà dei Turchini

The nodes symbolize them all the negativities that we would like to leave behind, which are annihilated by prayer, just like the story of the German noble. Given the deep devotion of Pope Francis, to the Madonna who unties the knots, during his last visit to Naples he proclaimed the Jubilee throughout the course of 2021 for the Church of the Pietà dei Turchini.

Jubilee in Naples

Once again our city is a crossroads of cultures, which our Neapolitan spirit transforms into suggestive rituals that lead to an improvement in our lives through hope and optimism. The Madonna who unties the knots is one of the many expressions that testify to all this.

Bibliography

Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary who unties the knots, Velar Publishing, 2015.

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