The Neapolitan Cult of the Dead at the ossuary of Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco.

In 1274 Purgatory was formally accepted as Catholic doctrine and defined by the Church as the place of purification through which souls pass on their way to paradise. Some decades later, the Council of Florence added that the suffrages of the faithful still living were efficacious in bringing souls in purgatory relief from such punishment, and in 1476 Pope Sixtus IV confirmed that indulgences might be earned by the living for souls in purgatory, thus shortening individual souls’ time there. At the beginning of 1600 a group of Neapolitan noblemen…

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