Following the Cross Procession: Meet the Crossbearers – Marko Matkovic From Vrbanj

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We continue the series of interviews done by Vilma Stojković from Hvar / Unesco website with the crossbearers. Vrbanj is the last one.
Marko Matković – Crossbearer for Vrbanj in 2016.
(photo: Vilma Stojković)
Marko (27) was 15 years old when he signed up for carrying the Holy Cross. When his father Jure carried the Cross in 1999, then 11-year old Marko and his brother Grgo were accompanying his father dressed in white tunics (tonike). They walked through the whole night, kneeling next to his father at every station. This experience made Marko want to sign up years later to become a crossbearer himself.
(photo: personal archive of Marko Matković)
He prepared a tunic for his 5-year old son, who will be by his side in the procession, just as he was there next to his father years ago. These are the moments that are forever engraved into one´s memory, says Marko.
(photo: personal archive of Marko Matković)
Preparations last throughout the whole Lent, those material-related as well as those spiritual-related, everyone is helping out. Friends and relatives will be carrying lanterns (feral) and candles (ceroj) and will sing the Our Lady´s Tears. It is believed that the Our Lady´s Tears from Vrbanj are the most archaic and in that sense the most beautiful ones from the whole island. Women prepare cakes and everything else that needs to be done before the procession. For the official accompaniment a lunch and dinner will be organized, some 150 people will gather like this.
(photo: personal archive of Marko Matković)
When asked, if by being a crossbearer he expect to change, he says, that just waiting for the procession night has changed him as by being a crossbearer one have to make various concessions, behave properly, forgive and pray. As a crossbearer, one is exposed to everyone, and it is not always easy to stay peaceful. He believes, that the Cross has came at the right time for him, he vowed to the health of his family and will pray for his wife and two children, who are his biggest support and joy in life.
(photo: personal archive of Marko Matković)
The Vrbanj procession is passing through the part of the village from which the crossbearer comes from and it is a custom, that in the morning after returning to Vrbanj, the whole procession visits the old cemetery, where they pray for their deceased ones. On Good Friday afternoon, new obligations will wait for the crossbearer – to carry the Cross in a procession, when all the crosses from the church are taken out, along with the one, that was carried in El Shatt in 1944 and is being kept in the sacristy of the parish church.
Marko is grateful to God, who gave him health and strength to carry the cross, he will not fail him.
Continue reading about the crossbearer from Jelsa.


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