Madonna del Carmelo


The Carmelites spread to Sicily in the 12th and 13th centuries and it seems they were in Cammarata in the church of S. Elia, on the mountain, and then they passed in town around 1470, where they had the church of S. Biagio and the adjoining convent; The Carmelites probably had to dwell there from the middle of the fifteenth century up to the first decades of the sixteenth century because in the pastoral visit of 1540 there is no mention of them regarding the church of S. Biagio. According to the historian Fr. Carmelo Nicotra, the Carmelites would remain in Cammarata until 1533, when Countess Margherita Abatellis, to ensure religious assistance to the few inhabitants of San Giovanni Gemini, still in the bud, asked the Carmelites of Cammarata to move in San Giovanni receiving from the confreres of the place their homonymous church and committing themselves to build an adjoining convent. In 1577 the prior of the Carmelites p. Leonardo Vigna, with an act notarised by Silvio Minardo on August 24th, had bought some houses to enlarge the convent and, as we can remember in other news, "which houses called prior made it a cloister of the convent". So, until that year, the cloister was missing in the convent, but there must have been a garden next to it, whose traces existed until a few years ago, surrounded by walls because many times in the documents we remember the "baglio", the "garden" , "Li claustri" and the "walls" of the Carmine garden. The convent prospered throughout the seventeenth century with a large number of religious. Around 1760 there was a large landslide that extended the damage caused by the previous landslides and caused the factories of the northern side of the convent to be thrown out, threatening and seriously damaging the church. The Carmelites failed to restore the convent and, given the economic hardships of those years, no longer living in that place nor cope with the huge expenses needed to strengthen the factories, they left the country. However, the landslides continued and the landslide that damaged the convent, "started almost at the edge of the north wall, also caused damage to the church; there was a lowering of the north wall with strong resentment of the ceiling. Its stability was considered in danger and consequently the church was closed to worship. It was evicted of everything: the statue of the Madonna was taken to the mother church (...). The painting in the center of the altar depicting the Madonna del Carmelo recalls this event. Even the paintings with the sacred furnishings were brought to the matrix, in safe custody ".

Around 1880 the priest Domenico Guanà generously committed himself in the reconstruction of the church. Today the Carmine Church is an interesting building from the historical point of view, for what has been said, even if nothing preserves the original structures, and from the artistic one for the paintings and sculptures that it contains. In the apse on a monumental marble altar stands a wooden statue of the Madonna, an artistic sculpture of the seventeenth century; the Virgin on her left arm holds the Child and with her right hand she brings the little Carmine's dress to the faithful, in an attitude of maternal benevolence. According to the visit of the vicar general Gerlando Brunone, of 1758, in the church are the altars of the Madonna del Carmine and then, in cornu Evangelii of S. Gaetano, of S. Elena and Costantino, of the Purgatorio and in that of the Epistola, of Antonio da Padova, of the Crucifix, of S. Liborio. Currently in the side altars the Crucifix, S. Rita, S. Filomena, S. Giuseppe and S. Elia are honored; the beautiful marble statue of this last saint comes from the homonymous church that stood on the mountain where it was honored with a feast and fair on 20 July. In the church of the Carmine there is a painting of the Madonna called dello Staglio which depicts the Holy Virgin, seated, holding the Child on her left arm, while at her feet a bishop, in a cope, offers her a ring. Another painting of the Holy Family attributed to Pietro d'Asaro or his school is also interesting. In 1955 Don Andrea obtained from the Fund for the cult £. 1,300,000 to complete the restoration, also tried to enlarge the bell tower, but did not succeed as desired. However, in 1954 it acquired a new bell merged by the Virgadamo company from Burgio. After the restoration of 1948, the church was decorated and embellished by the paintings of the countryman prof. Giovanni Philippone who, in the apse basin, depicted three angels: one holding the coat of arms of Carmel and the other two playing musical instruments. In the central part of the vault, soberly decorated, three canvases of the same painter were placed: in the first one is represented the prophet Elijah who prays with his arms raised, while on the horizon there is a white cloud, symbol of the Virgin; in the second the Madonna who gives the dress to S. Simone Stock; in the third the ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila. These works by Philippone make the church of Carmine a small treasure trove of artistic treasures worthy of being visited, but above all they help the soul of the faithful to relive the Carmelite spirit, to rise up to God and to honor Our Lady. 

san giovanni gemini abside e campanile d
statua madonna del carmelo.PNG
festa maria ss del carmelo.PNG
Chiesa madonna del carmelo san giovanni

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