History of the Deputation of the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro
The Deputation of the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, born in 1601, is one of the oldest and most unusual institutions still remained in Italy: it deals with ensuring the inviolability of cruets of Saint’s blood and the holy relics, protecting the immense Treasure of San Gennaro and guarding the Royal Chapel, one of the universal jewel of art, which was erected in honour of the Saint after some tragic events for which the people implored the protection of his Patron (the war between Spain and France, and the plague in the years 1526 and 1527).
On February 5, 1601 the twelve members of the Deputation were named, two for each Seat, and the Royal Chapel was opened on December 16, 1646. The history of the Deputation, full of events and activities, is disentangled for about four centuries until now: during this time the Deputies have always accomplished with passion, selflessness and devotion, their task, providing no easy administration that the Chapel of Treasure requires, aside from the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance, and often restorations of considerable entity. To these costs, especially in the past, the Deputies have also coped with personal interventions, when the incomings from the faithful, from certain legacies and a contribution of the City of Naples, were not sufficient to balance the outputs.
Naples, as you can see, preserves centuries-old traditions that are part of the cultural roots of the people; and the Deputies, still chosen from among the old families, once ascribed to the Seats (among others Caracciolo, Carafa de’ Medici, Imperiali, d’Aquino, Somma, Sanfelice, Carignani), maintain and testify this tradition.
It should still disclose the meaning, the sense and value of this institution, direct expression of Naples and of the link between the people and the Saint Martyr.