The Churches in Ovada


Do not have definite information about the constitution of the Brotherhood of St. John the Baptist even though it can be said without fear of contradiction that the same was formed in late 1400. Entitled as many other of Liguria to the Baptist, collected hundreds of confreres who gathered in a small chapel adjoining the Old Parish Ovada (originally entitled to Saint Mary); Oratory was accessed via a staircase as raised since built on a former cemetery area.
The Brotherhood took over the years an important role in a welfare of the poor and those in need of care and practical help; the many offerings, bequests, donations and the support of the Brothers did increase the resources of the Brotherhood enriching the heritage also used for purposes voluntarist.
With the passing of time and changing needs for assistance and religious habits, members of the Brotherhood were reduced to a few tens and dedicated their activities to the preservation of religious traditions and the rich heritage and history of the Oratory and heirlooms in it contained.
In 1645 the Brotherhood was combined with that of the Holy Trinity based in Rome; in 1700 the Oratory was renovated and decorated in the style of the time. Because by this time there were no other significant interventions, the Oratory is in clear eighteenth-century style forming a huge value artistic testimony.
The four paintings depicting the Passion of Jesus are of this period as well as the construction of the altar and the crucifix; in 1764 the Genoese painter Carlo Bensa was commissioned to frescoing the ceiling with the glory of St. John the Baptist and the four Evangelists.
Around 1790 the Old Parish, pouring in poor condition and being almost completed work on the construction of the new church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, was closed to worship. The Brotherhood then decided to buy the right aisle in order to build a real flight of steps with its tall, narrow façade gaining the distinction of church raised which made it less crowded and more intimate.
In 1835 was built the bell tower, and thirty years later the bells were placed (those of today are higher); the organ instead dates back to 1882 (restored in 1929).
Over the years, the Brotherhood was enriched with furnishings, garments, vestments, paintings, silver and sculptures: the hoods of red cloth worn by the bearers of the chest and by the children who followed the procession gave the name to the Brotherhood is known as "reds" distinct so from that of the SS Annunziata ("Turchini").
Priceless and representative work is chest depicting the beheading of John the Baptist by Anton Maria Maragliano, originally located at the Oratory of St. John at Acquasola in Genoa. Finished in Savona during the troubled period Napoleon was acquired by the Brotherhood in 1826 arousing the acclaim of population of Ovada. Another processional chest, belonging to the Oratory is representative of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (of a smaller size than the Maragliano).
On June 24, the streets and squares of Ovada come alive with the Procession of Saint John the Baptist, a real mixture of sacredness and folklore that never ceases to instil a lively participation. The Brotherhood aims at conservation of Heritage of the Oratory but especially at the disclosure of one you can easily define the tradition folkoristic - religious most loved by the Ovada people.