Church of the Ss. Trinità

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OUTSIDE THE CHURCH  |  THE CRUCIFIX AND PURGATORY ALTARS
 

Church of the Ss. Trinità

The church's inside

The inside of the Church Of The SS. Trinità, to three naves, reflects the scheme preferred at the time.

The transect is contained in the short sides by two chapels with wonderful baroque altars: the altar of the Crucifix [2] and that of the Purgatory [1].

The two valuable works were built in 1655 ("altar hoc an. 1655 erectum"), the date is affixed in the right part of the arc of the chapel of the crucifix) and restored in 1892.



The Crucifix Altar

The baroque altar of the Crucifix (1655) is ​​found in the back wall of the right arm of the transept.

A marble plaque (photo on the right) walled up at the end of the adjacent right wall reminds us of the construction of the building (1655) and of a subsequent reconstruction (1892):
«ALTAR HOC YEAR D.NI MDCLV ERECTUM DENUO INAURARI MANDAVIT ARCHIP. PAROCHUS JOSEPH OF BELLA CURANTE SAC.TE JOSEPHO ARDIZZONE YEAR MDCCCXCII »(1)
The large architectural frame (covers the entire wall and measures 4 meters by 6 in height) contains sculptures of saints and angels (in molded, painted and gilded stucco) and frescoes of the four Evangelists among the pairs of columns.

Frame also a big fresco with the Addolorata (Grieved) Virgin and San Giovanni on which leans a haunting wooden crucifix of the XV century ("Fattu in 1505", is written below the Cross).

Of baroque style it is of agonizing realism: has four very rich corkscrew columns and twined screws of gilded ornaments.

Four tortile columns, to which are spirally attached gilded vine shoots with foliage and fruits, support the animated and geometrical pediment under which two angels show Christ's face impressed on the Veronica veil.

Between one column and another, within frames of gilded stuccos, the images of the four evange­lists (Giovanni, Luca, Marco and Matteo) are frescoed. Below two statues: on the right the one of Santa Agnese (Holy Agnes) and, on the left, Santa Caterina della Ruota (Holy Caterina Of The Wheel).

Two caryatids in the form of angels, modeled in stucco, painted and gilded, are placed on the sides of the altar in the middle of the yellow bases of the four twisted columns.

The altar contains a big wooden cross with a very beautiful Christ whom, according to tradition, was saved in 1651 from the lava of Etna buried the Brignolo district. To the feet of the Crucifix are the frescoed figures of the Virgin and San Giovanni.

During a recent restoration of the church it was discovered that the fresco with the Virgin and St. John is partially hidden by the marbles that adorn and embellish the altar.
A part at the bottom (for a height of about 60 cm.), In fact, is not visible because covered by the marble of the altar and in a cartouche drawn there (on the right, just under the feet of San Giovanni) there is also a written with the name of Antoninus Magro, the patron who made him paint.



Altar of The Purgatory

Also the chapel of the transept with the Altar Of The Purgatory, placed in front of the other cha­pel with the altar of the Crucifix, is of baroque style, but it is much richer than decorations.

Also here four tortile columns adorned of gilt floral elements support a high frame with cyma of thick foliage.

Among the columns, in suitable niches, are positioned human skeletons of remarkable plastic effect and of great suggestion.

Altare del Purgatorio

The whole, in the end, is a true masterpiece of communication technology.

It represents the Madonna who intercedes at the Trinity for the souls of Purgatory, drawn down in the flames, and reports with clear messages the vanity of all the things of life and the reality that hides behind the trappings of power.

These messages are remembered to the learned with sacred inscriptions and various wordings:

- a verse of Horace, painted at the top of the arch of the architectural frame, in a shield supported by two putti recites that «decidunt turres feriuntque summos fulmina montes» (2);

- further down, in another shield also held by two angels, with the verse «Viator in arena et stigmate consilium capit» (3)

- and finally above the mantovana that overhangs the painting, carved and gilded wood, still a sacred inscription addressed to Jesus recites «Pie Iesu Domine dona eis requiem» (4))

The three writings were addressed to the educated and powerful, but to commu­nicate the message of the vanity and brevity of life to the illiterate brontesi of the eighteenth century, the author invents a truly spectacular and terrifying scene.

It transports the earthly life in the afterlife (the Purgatory, which the artist with the painting places at the center of the stage) where skeletons, sculpted in natu­ral size between the four columns, represent the whole ecclesiastical and political hierarchy, by the Pope (with head and mantle) to the king, the emperor, the cardinal and the bishop.

All this in order to remind men of a truth that is always current and always for­got­ten: the fleetingness of life and the vanity of earthly things and that over all the efforts and passions of men, above all, dominates the shadow of death with the its leveling force.

To communicate the message to the illiterate brontesi of the XVII century, the author invents a really spectacular and terrifying scene. Transports the earthly life into the afterlife (the purgatory) where skeletons, engraved in natural size between the four columns, represent all the ecclesiastical and political hierarchy, from the Pope (with triregno at the top and mantle) to the king, the emperor, the cardinal and the bishop.

All that to remind the men of a truth always current and always forgotten: the fugacity of life and the vanity of earthly things


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(1) "This altar was erected in the year of the Lord 1655, and was then decorated at the behest of the Archpriest Parish Priest Giuseppe Di Bella by the priest Giuseppe Ardizzone in the year 1892"
(2) «The towers fall and the lightning strikes the tops of the mountains»»
(3) «The traveler decides between the fight (in the arena) and slavery»
(4) "O good Lord Jesus, give them rest"


Mausoleums

Mausoleo dedicato al vescovo Giuseppe SaittaInside the church, arranged in the side aisles and in the chapels there are several richly built mausoleums and marble plaques dedicated to illustrious brontesi (mostly priests).

Stand out the one of Mons, GIUSEPPE SAITTA (erected in ‘800, placed in the left aisle near the secondary entry to the church), that of the noble Nicola Spedalieri (born in 1741 and deceased in 1831), great beneficiary Of the Mother Church, third cousin to the homonym philosopher Nicola Spedalieri, of Vincenzo Pace, (placed on the right side aisle), of the archpriest Placido Dinaro (erected in a chapel of the left side aisle), and of Vincenzo Uccellatore (also archpriest, built in a chapel of the left aisle).
 

The monument, placed on the
wall of the church’s left aisle

by his wife and children, in memory of VINCENZO PACE, "laboriosissimo viro patri sponsoque diligentissimo", and deceased in 1849.

The mausoleum erected in memory of Don VINCEN­TIUS UCCELLA­TORE (archpriest and “par­ro­chus oppidi Placae Baja­nae” decea­sed in 1805 at the age of 74 years).

The plaque starts with “Hic jacet qui retribuit bona pro malis".Father Gesualdo De Luca in its “History of Bronte” remembers him “for the greatness and generosity of his heart, for his extraordinary plans for the beloved country”.
 

PLACIDO DINARO, deceased at the age of 91 years, the 26th of August 1795.
 

About him father Gesualdo De Luca writes that he was “a most virtuous and attentive archpriest, an erudite and holy man. The venerable Capizzi defined him a hidden saint. His way of speaking as a sacred orator was effective and extreme ly gentle”. Agostino Attinà depicted him amongst the Bronte’s illustrious men (n. 7).


Translated by Sam Di Bella  ITALIAN VERSION

      

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