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Monsignor Domenico De Gregorio

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Name and surname

We do not know what time canon De Gregorio got up.

Legend has it that he was the one who pulled the sun out of bed. Certainly he was at his workplace at five o'clock, at his desk. After saying Mass, of course. That was the first undertaking of the day, the Opera Grande.

Even on Mondays, at five. After spending the weekend on the nail as a minister of the Lord in the Cammaratese church of San Domenico. Even as an octogenarian. After traveling over 50 km to return to Agrigento.

Well, you won't believe it, but the surname “De Gregorio” comes from a Greek verb that - word of Lorenzo Rocci - we translate well as “wake up, I'm awake, watchful”!

De Gregorio, however, did not only watch over books.

Above all, he watched over his beloved church in Agrigento. Like a mother on her child, perhaps feverish; as the bridegroom over the safety of the bride; like a helmsman, on the waters of the century. His boundless articles testify to this sleepless and indomitable care.

This Church loved her, offering for her, as a sacrifice of sweet smell, her time and her energies, her legs and her head, her life.

He watched. Like a catenary dog in the night.

And the combination does not seem irreverent. It was, in fact, the father of the order of preachers, Domenico di Guzmàn, who elected as a shield of nobility, for himself and for his family, the image of a dog with a lighted torch in its mouth. Dominicans, therefore, not only because they are children of Dominic's religion, but above all because Domini Canes, dogs of the Lord, who carry the flame of faith in their mouths, that is, who announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

It is quite evident, then, how the person of Domenico De Gregorio was the name he bore, he brought to fulfillment what was mysteriously sown in his name.

On Thursday 26 June 2008 at 6.30 pm, the Metropolitan Chapter, with the Bishop and the Church of Agrigento, will name the churchyard of that Cathedral that he has dearly loved and passionately told him about.

On the plaque that name and surname: Domenico De Gregorio. Nothing more. If it seems little to you ...

TEXT:  Giovanni Scordino, Name and surname.

The seventeenth-century churchyard of the Metropolitan Basilica is named after Domenico De Gregorio.

The Friend of the People, 29.6.08

Speech on the name of the church

Remember the days of ancient time,

meditate on the distant years;

question your father and he will let you know

your old men and they will tell you

(Dt. 32.7).

Also question ancient times

that were before you ...

that is, that a people has heard the voice of God ...

(Dt. 4.40).

Character, spectator, commentator, lyrical expression of feelings or passions, the chorus, in Greek tragedies, linked to the drama, or to one of the protagonists, or completely detached from the action and the characters, but as their spokesperson, is an element always present and necessary.

"The chorus of classical tragedies is to be regarded - writes Schlegel, quoted by Manzoni - as the organ of the poet's feelings".

Speaking of the choirs of his tragedies, then, Manzoni affirmed that they had "another advantage for art: by reserving a corner for the poet where he can speak in his own person, the temptations to enter into action will diminish. to the characters his own feelings "(A. Manzoni, Preface to Carmagnola).

Very often in the history books there is a mixture, indeed a mixture, between the events and their protagonists with the arrogance of the rerum scriptor who, forgetting his task and duty, either makes them speak and act as he wishes, or always "ready" an answer ", or an interpretation," to be given in the name of ...

He arbitrarily assumes the mask of judge, friend, enemy since no one has given him a proxy.


Here I use the word discourse not so much in the sense of Tommaseo as  "serious or familiar, written or improvised of any kind, on any subject"  (N. Tommaseo, Dictionary of synonyms), but in the etymological one, certainly not to "disperse, drift", but to run with the thought, to go here and there, without a very close logical chain.


He talks to now ad or immediately focus

moving the eyes that were sure

(Dante, Paradiso, 15, 14-15).

Like dry stone walls

In narrating the history of the Agrigento Church, I refrained from intervening with judgments, reflections, observations because I did not want to interpret and misrepresent the facts, but only make them known, through evidence and documents. Of course, I built dry stone walls, without falsely colored plaster; however they stand on the connection of their stones, like certain ancient buildings ... or those that today the restorers peel off, to show them in the original structure ...


During the research and writing of these volumes, I have repeatedly wondered if it was worth it (besides the need to answer my questions or curiosities) to write and publish them and, at times, I seemed to hear the typically Sicilian question: Who makes her do it? or hear again the words addressed to Messer Ludovico: whence did you get all this nonsense?

It is true that the parable of the talents and the sower solicited and incited me: but were they not screens against my hypocrisy and excuses for my ambition?

Those words of Cicero:  Nescire quod antequam natus sis acciderit id est semper esse puerum  (Cicero, Orator 34). Ignoring what happened before your birth, is equivalent to always being a child, or those:  Wer keine Herkunft hat der hat auch keine Zukunft  (Who has not passed has no future) seemed to me a comfort for growth and maturation, and almost an insurance for the future: but wasn't it childish to delude oneself into being an adult and even mortgage the future?

Certainly I rectified my intention, for the glory of God and for the good of the Church, in the exaltation of her saints and of the good accomplished and in the confession of her deficiencies, proclaiming and hoping for God's mercy.

I felt sincere, but was I? In the will and deliberation certainly; but the games of the unconscious can be understood in prayer:  ab occultis munda me?


Of course, this work is a fruit: unripe, ripe, unmade? Tastes are different: everyone has the freedom not to take it and, if caught, throw it away, if it does not correspond to expectations.

The Mother and the Teacher

The Church is made up of sinners and righteous people, converts and converts, that is, by souls who are converted progressively or with falls and recoveries.

From the various definitions or descriptions of the Church we can deduce the fundamental guidelines of its history:

If it is "called and gathered" by the faithful, its history must reconstruct and narrate them, referring to the people who made them, the means, the methods, the successes, the failures, the answers, the refusals, the defections.

If "community" we must seek what makes it such, preserves it, enriches it and what weakens it, breaks it down, disturbs it, breaks it and fragments it; if the individual can dissolve, if he can, isolate himself, excommunicate himself.

If "assembly" is in the service of God, how it conceives itself, organizes itself, expresses itself and how, if, when, where, why, does it perform this service.

By Church can be understood, and must, the "concrete local community" which therefore begins, imports space-time references, its own characteristics, deficiencies, achievements.

The concept of "Body of Christ" applied by St. Paul to the Church (Gl. 3, 27) implies birth, development, protection, nourishment, destruction, amputations, and between the members the relationship, functionality, purpose, health or disease, this that increases or consumes, that which poisons or improves life and function.


An erroneous ecclesiology, theoretically rejected by all, but which practically guides so much ecclesiastical practice, could be schematized as follows: the Church is the sacred building, not the houses of men; the Church is the pope, not the bishops, the priests, the faithful; the Church is the bishop, not his clergy and the believers of the diocese; the Church is the parish priest, not the priests, the faithful of the parish.

At most a concession is made: the pope calls his brother cardinals to help him; the bishop his sons and brother priests; the parish priest and his filians: with a highly appreciable deignation worthy of imperishable gratitude: otherwise there would be no Church.


History, as research, study, connection of human facts (historia rerum gestarum) embraces the totality of the events and works of men because they are the expression and manifestation of their soul and culture.

Therefore, he studies and narrates their works - ascertaining their truth with careful criticism - and their relationships, how they originated, developed and concluded (as far as we can know in a reasonable period of time: who, in the sixteenth century, would have imagined pre-Raphaelism? ) and the consequences that flow from it.

History is the study of events that have occurred over time, in a territory, with their active and passive protagonists, according to the perspective in which you want to capture them, explain them: political, economic, military, institutional, religious, artistic, cultural, eventual , legal, moral.

We speak of chronology, diachrony, synchrony as a distinction between investigative or narrative methods; history cannot do without chronology, so it cannot separate and contrast diachrony and synchrony: on the contrary, it must value them as converging differences in illuminating the same facts, contributing to a better focus.


It is said that history arises from the need to understand the present or that it is research and exposure of past events to illuminate and understand the present.

But who needs it?

Most people don't feel this need; the Agrigentine Church has never cared - as far as we know - to know its past, so much so that there are very few historical works of the past and, in general, of little value, or they come from extremely concrete needs: the defense of a financial asset , or a border, or censuses and tithes.

Only at the end of the century. XIX studies on its history from can. Antonino Lauricella.

According to Croce, history results from research, criticism, interpretation and understanding of the past and from its artistic narration (in fact he calls it "genre of artistic production").

We distinguish between historians who only narrate or describe (and they would not be true historians) and historians who interpret and judge; but is this really possible? The historian narrates, that is, he coordinates, connects the facts, connects them to the consequences, not always predictable, when they take place, that is, he interprets them and, referring them to the present, he judges them.

"Every true story is contemporary history" he wrote (B. Croce, Theory and history of historiography, Bari 1954, p. 45) and I would dare to add dimensional, meaning that it interpenetrates with the particular, seen in the general (universal, national, provincial, institutions - religious - law - political, military, economic).


History does not vary because the past is immutable; but it can be, and necessarily is, illuminated and seen in a different way by every historian, both as regards his person (age, training, beliefs) as well as for the reasons for his study and the purposes of his research, because history is , also, necessarily action.


The past is revisited, to take refuge in it - the present being unlivable, but in the polemical attitude there is always the hope of change - or to live the present, correcting it, improving it, or even condemning it, but to prepare for the future. ; to understand and transform oneself, at least intentionally, improve or perfect oneself.


History is not definitive because with every answer it offers, it raises questions for further questions: even for history "doubt is born at the foot of the truth".

It will therefore never be exhausted in its objectivity and impartiality; inexhaustible mine, work of Sisyphus.


The passage from Cicero's De Oratore is famous: Historia vero testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memoriae, magistra vitae, nuntia vetustatis (Cicero, De Oratore II 36).

History: witness of the times, splendor of truth, life of memory, teacher of life, messenger of antiquity.

An elegant, sonorous, oratory phrase, but true?

History is often made by the losers, but against the winners; if they write it, the latter look for the reasons or justifications, a posteriori, of their fortune, of the blood shed and made to shed and of the damage caused by their victories.

And the light of truth? At most, it can be a witness of time or a messenger of the past, certainly not the life of memory: how much history you forget and want to forget (beautiful: letting it fall from the heart: woe to the one who died in someone's heart!) to blush, either in order not to turn pale, or because more demanding events are urgently needed and stronger feelings expire.

Is she a teacher of life?

"Lady teacher who does not teach" wrote Alberto M. Ghisalberti who concludes:

"Does history teach nothing at all? No, it does teach a lot, indeed: that we must work, fight, suffer. Hope too" (AM Ghisalberti, in Historical Review of the Risorgimento, 1969, pages 288-289).

Nice observation. But was there a need for history?

But why do we have to work, fight, suffer, hope? History cannot tell this if it does not keep in mind its pregnant and disruptive secret: the Incarnation.

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.


She was one of the most eminent figures of the Agrigento clergy of the twentieth century, historian, theologian, poet  and is known regionally.

Born in Cammarata on August 24, 1923, he spent most of his life between his native town and Agrigento, dedicating all his efforts as a researcher to these two centers. At the age of eleven he entered the diocesan seminary, bringing with him a great capacity for self-discipline and a rich tradition of popular and religious culture, giving life to a fifty-year career as a passionate researcher. He obtained a degree in classical literature in 1953 and a degree in philosophy in 1956. He perfected foreign languages and literatures: to the French and Spanish languages, already perfectly possessed during the seminary years, he was added in 1958 the diploma of German language, obtained at the University of Salzburg and in 1960, in Bonn, that in Language and Literature Germanic. In fact, for his studies he drew from Italian and foreign archives and libraries.

In 1976 he became Director of the widespread diocesan weekly, "L'Amico del Popolo" for almost thirty years. In 1985 he obtained a doctorate in dogmatic theology in Rome.

In 1986 he published his "Cammarata News on the territory and its history" and on that occasion Leonardo Sciascia came to Cammarata specifically.

In the meantime, he was also appointed Director of the prestigious Lucchesiana Library in Agrigento, which he tried to restore to its former glory and to which he left his very rich personal library by testament.

He died on May 26, 2006, leaving about seventy volumes published by him.

The churchyard of the Agrigento Cathedral, a classroom of the Lucchesiana Library of the same city and the Municipal Library of Cammarata have been named after him.

From the enormous amount of news, always based on archival documents he searched for and translated in dozens of Sicilian archives and libraries and not in times when there was no internet and everything had to be done by hand and in person, we can hardly guess how much work it required his books and how much dedication. 

Thanks for the text:

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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