The Matrix of
San Giovanni Gemini
Mother Church dedicated to
St. John Baptist
Commissioned by Duke Ercole Branciforti and built with the help of the entire population and his Archpriest Don Girolamo Vanni, it dates back to the early 1600s. Completed after 1620 by the Archpriest Don Girolamo Giambruno, in 1645 the wooden effigy of Jesus was brought here. Nazarene. The date of 1708 that can be read on the architrave of the main door would indicate the year in which it was completed. The Church has three naves 35 meters long. The central 7.50 meters wide, has in the background, in the center of the choir, a high altar rich in precious marbles. There are eight side chapels. The stuccos on the three sides of the choir are very interesting from an artistic point of view, especially the one depicting the Marie and San Giovanni at the foot of the Nazzareno.
Open to the public, it is located in Largo Nazareno 1. Parking nearby. Parish priest of reference: Don Luca Restivo
It is located in the heart of the town, and is dedicated to the patron saint John the Baptist. It is a building with a Latin cross basilica plan with three naves, 35 meters long. The central nave is divided from the aisles by twelve cruciform pillars and is covered by a barrel vault with lunettes.
In the background, in the center of the choir, there is the high altar rich in precious marbles, where the beautiful crucifix of Jesus Nazarene is kept, the work of friar Elia Benedetto, in 1649.
It contains several canvases, and one of the most famous is certainly the one depicting the Holy Family, together with the painting of the Souls in Purgatory, the painting dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, the Crucifixion, and the canvas depicting Sant'Eligio (from 1700).
There are several altars: the altar of Santa Lucia, of San Giuseppe, the altar dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, to San Francesco di Paola, to the Sacred Heart of Mary, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the altar of Our Lady of Providence .
As sculptures you can admire the marble baptismal font, the marble bust dedicated to Don Michele Martorana and the plaque in memory of the donation of one's heart to young people.
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It is a wooden statue of an unknown author, colored brown and with a passionate but serene and sweet face, with a loving smile of mercy and barely hinted at love, which conquers those who go to his feet to pray to him.
Around the Crucifix are three colored stucco statues: on the right standing St. John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene kneeling, while on the left the Virgin of Sorrows upright.
Devotion to Jesus Nazarene is rooted in the heart and life of every Sangiovannese and Cammaratese, also involving the inhabitants of neighboring villages who often come on pilgrimage. This devotion is expressed in the invocation for help and in the request for particular graces which find their culminating moment in the "journey on bare feet" and in the gratitude for the grace received with the moving procession of votive candles on the feast day.
A devotion so rooted in the culture of the people that the emigrants themselves carry it with them, remembering it in their places of stay with special moments and festivals as happens for the Sangiovannesi of Bayonne (USA) who celebrate on the same date carrying a copy of the statue in procession and reproducing the Triumphal Chariot. (source official site)