"Following the Cross" Procession during Holy Week

The first record of the Procession was made by Bishop Milania during his visitation back in 1658. According to his notes, the tradition of the Procession began even earlier, starting in the early morning hours of Good Friday or just after midnight. Today the Procession starts at 10 PM on Maundy Thursday, lasts 8 hours, covers a distance of 22 km and includes six parishes: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj and Vrboska.

The cross bearer is the head of the Procession. He is either barefoot or in socks and carries the Cross that is covered with a black veil. The cross bearer has his own helpers, followers and singers who sing "Lamentations of the Virgin Mary" and people carrying large candles and banners that lead the Procession. Everyone is dressed in white Brotherhood tunics. Many worshippers from all over the Island, as well as guests visiting the Island take part in the Procession, carrying candles and rosaries. Some of the local people along with numerous guests wait for the Procession to arrive from neighboring villages so that they may join in and sing and pray on the way to the church.

R. Kupareo (1914 - 1994), a Dominican priest from Vrboska who lived in Chile for a number of years, brilliantly describes the Procession in his novel entitled "Baraban" (1943):

"On a clear April night the crosses go by. They have been going by for centuries as a symbol of an on-going tradition and religion. They pass the same route and over the same hills. The magic and profound meaning of the Procession has not faded with time" .

"Following the Cross" Procession is on the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.