6 days in Sicily-09/24 - 09/29/2017

Catania-Day 2- 09/25/2017

Saint Agatha/Catania Cathedral

Saint Agatha Cathedral also known as Catania Cathedral was built over the Roman Baths of Achilles at the very point where the holy martyr Agatha died in 251. The Normans began with the construction of the first cathedral in 1090 which was restored after the earthquakes 1140 and 1169 and finally completely reconstructed from scratch after the great earthquake of 1693. The architects Girolamo Palazzotto and Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, who designed the façade of the cathedral, were responsible for the construction in the Sicilian Baroque in 1736.

The current appearance of the cathedral dates from the work in 1711 of Gian Battista Vaccarini, who designed a new Baroque façade after the 1693 earthquake. It has three levels with Corinthian columns in granite. All the orders are decorated with marble statues of Saint Agatha over the gate, Saint Euplius on the right and Saint Birillus on the left.


High above is the statue Saint Agatha.


Close up with of the statue of Saint Birillus on the left and Saint Euplius on the right.  Both statues are located right at the entrance.



Saint Euplius is venerated as a martyr and saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.

The main entrance of the Cathedral.


The main door made of wood has 32 sculpted plaques with episodes of the life and martyrdom of Saint Agatha, papal coats of arms and symbols of Christianity.


The cathedral has a Latin cross ground plan, with a nave and two aisles.


View from the entrance looking at the altar.

Columns made of granite.

Holy water urn.

This one looks like it has Arabic influence.


As you walk to the right in the northern aisle there are several 17th-century paintings of saints.



Northern aisle corridor.

Next to a pillar is the simple grave of the famous composer and citizen of Catania, Vincenzo Bellini who was an Opera composer (1801-1835)


A wreath on Bellini's tomb.




Painting of Madonna and child.

Statue of Jesus

Tomb of Aemilii Ferrais, Archbishop of Catania


"His Excellency Aemilii Ferrais, Archbishop of Catania

Born in Verona on March 27, 1869

Died in Catania on January 22, 1930


Chapel of Saint Agatha located on the Southern chapel, dating from the Renaissance, is dedicated to St. Agatha.


Saint Agatha is honored here in the place of her martyrdom. She is one of seven women, who along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Born to a noble family in Catania, she spent a certain amount of time on the island of Malta before deciding that she should return to her native Catania to help spread the gospel. Roman prefect Quintianus at that time had taken a liking to her and wanted her to marry him, but when she rebuffed him, he  sent her to a brothel and then, when she resisted all attempts to participate, he had her tortured by cutting off her breasts (hence she is patron saint of breast cancer patients, among others) in addition to other torments.

However, that night Saint Peter appeared to her and cured her wounds. It was said that a bright light appeared in the prison and the frightened guards ran off leaving her cell door open, which would have given her the perfect opportunity to escape. She chose instead to stay and bear witness to Jesus Christ.

Refusing to renounce her faith, she died in prison around 215 A.D. An eruption of Mount Etna occurred a year after her death and many fled in terror to her grave. Her veil was taken and held against the onrushing flames, and suddenly the danger ceased.


In the center apse of the Cathedral, there are sculptures and Frescos dedicated to the patron Saint Agatha.

Stunning Frescos with huge choir stalls.


Left apse dates back to the original 12th-century construction.

Huge glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.


Tomb of blessed cardinal Guiseppe Benedetto Dusmet 1818-1884


Effigy of Cardinal Guiseppe Benedetto.  He was a saintly and shrewd man, revered in Catania as the "friendly of the poor".


The center nave with in the grave of Cardinal Guiseppe Benedetto

View from the center nave looking at the entrance of the cathedral a the end.
On top of the entrance is the pipe organ.



 In 2004 the organ was restored back to the way it was originally commissioned by Cardinal Joseph Benedict Dusmet to the French organ builder Nicolas Théodore Jaquot in 1877.

Tomb of the Archbishop of Catania: Joseph Cardinalis Francica-Nava (1846-1928)


The Virgin Mary altar

Remain of a pillar dating before the earthquake of 1693

Marble floor with intricate design through out the cathedral


Next...Walking around Catania




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