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Cammarata -San Giovanni Gemini

Your next destination in Sicily in the Sicani mountains

A mountain of excellence

Monsignor Domenico De Gregorio

The cultural imprint of Cammarata


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This narrative weaves a tale of dedication and service by Canon De Gregorio, showcasing his deep commitment to his church and community in Agrigento. The text skillfully combines legend with the tangible impacts of De Gregorio’s life, emphasizing his routine, his dedication, and the symbolic significance of his name. It draws a parallel between De Gregorio’s vigilance and the Dominican order’s emblem, underscoring his life as a manifestation of his name’s legacy. The commemoration of De Gregorio by naming the cathedral's churchyard after him is presented as a fitting tribute to his life’s work. Here’s a refined version for clarity and impact:

It's said that Canon De Gregorio was so early to rise, legend credits him with awakening the sun itself. By five in the morning, after having conducted Mass - his day's first grand task, the "Opera Grande" - he was already at his desk, diligently at work. This was his unwavering routine, even on Mondays, following a weekend serving as the Lord's minister in the Cammarata's Church of San Domenico, and remarkably so even into his eighties. Despite the arduous 50 km journey back to Agrigento, his commitment never wavered.

Interestingly, the surname “De Gregorio” echoes this diligence. According to Lorenzo Rocci, it derives from a Greek verb meaning “to wake up, I am awake, watchful.” Yet, De Gregorio's attentiveness extended beyond books.

He was a guardian for his cherished church in Agrigento, caring for it with a vigilance that was unceasing and formidable. His prolific writings bear witness to this indefatigable stewardship, likening him to a watchful dog in the night, tirelessly protecting his charge.

This analogy is not made lightly. Saint Dominic de Guzmán, founder of the Order of Preachers, chose an emblem for his family depicting a dog with a torch in its mouth, symbolizing the Dominicans' role as "Domini Canes," or "Dogs of the Lord," who carry the light of faith. In living up to his name, Domenico De Gregorio embodied this emblem, tirelessly serving and illuminating the path of faith for others.

In recognition of his enduring legacy, on June 26, 2008, at 6:30 pm, the Metropolitan Chapter, alongside the Bishop and the Church of Agrigento, honored him by dedicating the cathedral's churchyard in his name. A simple plaque bearing "Domenico De Gregorio" now marks this site, a modest tribute to a life richly lived in service and faith.

Speech on the name of the church

"Recall the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you" (Deuteronomy 32:7). Furthermore, "Reflect upon the days of eternity; consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you" (Deuteronomy 4:40).

In Greek tragedies, the chorus serves multiple roles: as a character, observer, commentator, and the lyrical voice of emotions or passions. Whether intimately connected to the drama and its protagonists, or standing apart as their representative, the chorus remains a constant and essential presence.

Schlegel, as cited by Manzoni, interprets the chorus of classical tragedies as the medium for the poet's emotional expression. Manzoni himself regarded the chorus in his tragedies as offering a unique advantage for artistic expression. By allocating a space where the poet can personally speak, it reduces the inclination to project personal feelings onto the characters (A. Manzoni, Preface to Carmagnola).

Historical accounts often blur the lines between factual events and their figures with the historian's overreach. This conflation sometimes sees the historian forgetting their role and either molding actions and speeches to their liking or providing "ready-made" answers or interpretations, usurping the voice of authority without mandate.

In this context, the term "discourse" is employed not merely in Tommaseo's broad sense of any serious or casual conversation on any topic but in its etymological sense. It suggests not to wander aimlessly but to journey thoughtfully across various points, without being bound by a stringent logical sequence.

As Dante artfully describes in Paradise, "Now he directed his discourse to one point, then to another, and his gaze followed his speech, moving with it" (Paradiso, 15:14-15).

Like dry stone walls

This passage reflects a deep introspection and humility by the author regarding their work on the history of the Agrigento Church. The author expresses a commitment to presenting the facts without personal bias, relying on evidence and documents to construct a narrative akin to dry stone walls, solid and unadorned yet standing strong on the integrity of its components. This approach aims to reveal the church's history in its most authentic form, much like restorers who remove layers to expose the original structure of ancient buildings.

The author also contemplates the value and motivation behind their work, questioning whether the effort to write and publish these volumes was driven by a genuine desire to illuminate the past or by personal ambition. They ponder the Sicilian skepticism they might encounter and whether their work is an act of adult maturity or a naïve attempt to secure a legacy.

Citing Cicero and a German adage to justify the pursuit of historical knowledge as a path to maturity and a prerequisite for a promising future, the author seeks to align their intentions with the glorification of God and the betterment of the Church. They aim to celebrate the church's saints and achievements while acknowledging its shortcomings, all the while seeking divine mercy.

The author admits to questioning their own sincerity in this endeavor, recognizing the potential influence of unconscious motives despite their conscious intentions. Ultimately, they view their work as a contribution to the discourse, understanding that its reception will vary among readers, who are free to engage with or dismiss it based on their personal expectations.

The Mother and the Teacher

This reflective passage delves into the complexities of recording and interpreting the history of the Church of Agrigento, exploring the nuanced balance between factual recounting and subjective interpretation. The author conscientiously avoids inserting personal judgments or interpretations into the historical narrative, striving to present facts supported by evidence and documents. This approach is likened to constructing sturdy dry stone walls, which, despite their simplicity, are held together by the interlocking of their components, revealing the authentic architecture beneath.

The narrative further contemplates the worth and motivation behind documenting these histories, probing the tension between the desire for scholarly inquiry and the potential accusations of ambition or hypocrisy. The author wrestles with philosophical and theological inspirations, questioning whether these drives were genuine or mere rationalizations of personal motives.

In examining the role and definition of the Church, the text navigates through various perspectives, highlighting the Church's composite nature of sinners, saints, and seekers. The erroneous ecclesiology that reduces the Church to its hierarchical or material aspects is critiqued, advocating for a more inclusive understanding that recognizes the Church's essence as the collective body of believers.

The discussion extends to the broader purpose and methodology of history, considering its role in understanding the present, honoring the past, and shaping the future. The author reflects on the subjective nature of historical interpretation, influenced by the historian's personal context and the changing perspectives of society.

Cicero's assertion of history as a testament to times, a teacher of life, and a bearer of truths is critically examined. The narrative acknowledges the inherent biases and limitations of historical accounts, questioning the ability of history to truly serve as a beacon of truth or a guide for future generations. Despite these challenges, the author ultimately sees value in the study of history, not as a definitive or exhaustive account, but as a continuous quest for understanding and improvement, underscored by the profound mystery of the Incarnation.

This thoughtful exploration raises important questions about the nature of historical inquiry, the dynamic relationship between the past and present, and the enduring quest for truth and meaning within the human experience.

Bibliography of Monsignor Domenico de Gregorio

(1954 - 2008)




- II Canto XXIII of Paradise. Lectura Dantis (Palermo)



- Nineteenth century Ecclesiastic from Agrigento. I. Mons.DM Lo Jacono (Agrigento)



- The logic of Porto Reale (Florence)



- A brief history of the Church, in In Veritate (Florence)



- For the LX of Mass of Mons.GB Peruzzo (Agrigento)



- Profiles of priests from Agrigento (Agrigento)



- The "Legenda" and the ancient rhythmic office of S. Gerlando (Agrigento)



- Cammarata, in the villages of Sicily (Palermo)



- Unity of spirit in the bond of peace (Rome)



- Called children of God such we really are! (Rome)

- Mons.Dominic Turano (Palermo)



- Nineteenth century Ecclesiastic from Agrigento. II. The vacant office (Agrigento)



- Mons.GB Peruzzo (Trapani)



- S. Gerlando. History and popular traditions (Agrigento)



- The Crucifix of Siculiana (Agrigento)

- San Calogero. Study on the Saint and his cult (Agrigento)



- The Can. GB Castagnola. The grutta of Betlem (Agrigento-Palermo)



- Fr. Girolamo da Cammarata (Palermo)



- St. Catherine of Alexandria and her cult in Cammarata (Cammarata)



- Card. Giuseppe Guarino (Messina)



- Card. Guarino, man of God (Messina)



- Nineteenth century Ecclesiastic from Agrigento. III. The episcopates of Mons.G. Blandini and Mons.B. Lagumina (Agrigento)

- Devotion to the Crucifix in Cammarata and S. Giovanni Gemini (S. Giovanni Gemini)

- The clergy of Agrigento and Garibaldi, in The Garibaldi event in the territory of Agrigento (Agrigento)

- Cardinal Giuseppe Guarino. A great shepherd emerges from oblivion (Messina)



- Mons.Giovanni Horozco de Leyva de Covarruvias, Bishop of Agrigento (Agrigento)



- Don Michele Martorana (Agrigento)

- Cammarata. News on the area and its history (Agrigento)



- Fr. Timoteo Longo OP Founder of the Dominicans of the Sacred Heart (Agrigento)

- San Gerlando. Life, writings and popular traditions (Agrigento)

- Sister Maria Dolores Di Majo (Palermo)



- The theological teachings of St. Gregory of Agrigento in his commentary on Ecclesiastes (Rome)

- The Rural and Artisan Bank of S. Giovanni Gemini. From the origins and Don Michele Martorana (Agrigento)

- G. Blandini, Holy Hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (St. John Gemini)



- Antonino Petyx, hero of charity (Agrigento)

- Letters of spiritual direction from Mons.A. Ficarra to Miss A. Traina (Agrigento)



- Post fata resurgo, in the Bibliotheca Lucchesiana publico donata (Palermo)



- San Calogero in the history of our people, in Il Santo Nero (Agrigento)



- San Gerlando and the situation of Agrigento after the Norman conquest, in Arabs and Normans in Sicily (Agrigento)

- San Giovanni Gemini. Historical and religious news (Agrigento)

- The Lucchesiana Library of Agrigento (Palermo)

- The picture of the Ten Thousand Martyrs in the Matrix of Cammarata (Agrigento)



- The Archconfraternity of the SS. Crucifix of Agrigento (Agrigento)

- In the shadow of the Cross - Giulietta Guaia (Agrigento)



- The Agrigentine Church. Historical information. I. From the origins to the century. XVI (Agrigento)



- The Agrigentine Church. Historical information. II. From the 16th to the 18th century (Agrigento)



- The Agrigentine Church. Historical information. III. The XVIII century (Agrigento)



- The Agrigentine Church. Historical information. IV. The nineteenth century (Agrigento)

- Archbishop A. Ficarra. From birth to the episcopate (Patti)

- Gregory of Agrigento exemplary evangelizer, in In Charitate Pax (Palermo)



- The Agrigentine Church. Historical information. V. 1900-1963 (Agrigento)

- Three Bishops from Agrigento (Agrigento)

- Gemma Presulare (Agrigento)

- Leonzio, Life of S. Gregorio Agrigentino (Introduction, translation and notes. Agrigento)

- S. Gerlando, La dialectica (Introduction, translation and notes. Agrigento)

- Don Michele Sclafani (Agrigento)

- The sea in the Apocalypse, in Sacred Iconography inspired by the sea (Taranto)



- G. Blandini, Holy Hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (Introduction - Appendix: A. De Liguori, Visit to the Blessed Sacrament / Mysteries of the Rosary in Sicilian. Cammarata)



- The mysteries of the Rosary in Sicilian (Agrigento)



- San Calogero. Study on the Saint and his cult (II revised and enlarged edition, edited by Giovanni Scordino and Maria Grazia Crescente - Agrigento)

- Ottobrata rosariante (Agrigento)



- Tales from Cammaratesi, in A Thousand Balconies in the East (Cammarata)

- The Venerable Fr. Gioacchino La Lomia (Canicattì)

- The venerable father Gioacchino (Agrigento)



- 'A Beddamatri. Marian titles and writings (Agrigento)



- Cammarata. II. Chronicles of the 19th and 20th centuries (Cammarata. Posthumous)

- The parish of paper. Editorials of "The Friend of the People" 1976-2001 (Agrigento. Posthumous)



- Signum Salutis. The Cathedral of Agrigento and its emblems (Agrigento. Posthumous)



This bibliography, the most complete to date, is to be completed.

Furthermore, a list of the endless production of articles, which appeared in various magazines, and particularly in the Agrigento weekly weekly, is missing.  The Friend of the People.


This narrative celebrates the life and legacy of a distinguished figure within the Agrigento clergy in the twentieth century, known for his multifaceted contributions as a historian, theologian, poet, and regional luminary.

Born in Cammarata on August 24, 1923, he dedicated the majority of his life to his birthplace and Agrigento, channeling his research efforts towards these two locales. From the tender age of eleven, upon entering the diocesan seminary, he demonstrated remarkable self-discipline and carried forward a deep-rooted tradition of popular and religious culture, leading to a fifty-year tenure as a fervent researcher. He achieved degrees in classical literature (1953) and philosophy (1956), alongside mastering multiple foreign languages, including French and Spanish from his seminary days, later adding German after studies in Salzburg (1958) and Bonn (1960), focusing on language and Germanic literature. His academic pursuits were enriched by resources from both Italian and international archives and libraries.

By 1976, he assumed the role of Director for the diocesan weekly, "L'Amico del Popolo," a position he held for nearly three decades. His doctoral journey culminated in 1985 with a doctorate in dogmatic theology from Rome. His literary contributions include the notable "Cammarata News on the territory and its history" (1986), an event that attracted Leonardo Sciascia to Cammarata.

Additionally, he served as the Director of the esteemed Lucchesiana Library in Agrigento, where he endeavored to restore its former prestige and bequeathed his extensive personal library.

Passing away on May 26, 2006, he left behind a legacy encapsulated in approximately seventy published volumes. In honor of his enduring contributions, the Agrigento Cathedral churchyard, a classroom within the Lucchesiana Library, and the Municipal Library of Cammarata bear his name.

Reflecting on the vast expanse of information he meticulously gathered and translated from numerous Sicilian archives and libraries—before the digital ease of the internet era—underscores the immense labor and dedication imbued in his publications.

Father D. De Gregorio together with Leonardo Sciascia, during the presentation of the book "Cammarata news on the territory and its history" in 1986

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