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Church of the Holy Crucifix (or saint Francis of Paola)

Church of the Holy Crucifix
Facciata della chiesa di San Francesco di Paola (Alcamo).jpg
The façade
Basic information
Location Alcamo, province of Trapani, Italy
Affiliation Minims
Rite Catholic
Municipality Alcamo
Territory Alcamo
State Italy
Province Trapani
Region Sicily
Patron the Holy Crucifix
Architectural description
Architectural type rococo
Founder Pietro Tabone
Groundbreaking 1550

The Church of the Holy Crucifix (or church of saint Francis of Paola) is a Catholic church in Alcamo, in the province of Trapani.

There is the Confraternity of the Most Holy Crucifix, which in 1565 got the benefit of Fiera Franca from the count of Modica.

Adjoining the church there was the Friary of saint Francis of Paola.

It was founded in 1550 in the name of the Most Holy Crucifix by the nobleman Pietro Tabone, grandfather of the poet Sebastiano Bagolino’s, who was buried in this Church. In 1542 Tabone, after his request, had a piece of land by the municipality in order to build a Chapel dedicated to the Most Holy Crucifix, patron saint of the town at that time.

The small chapel was built in 1550, without any consent by the Bishop of Mazara del Vallo; it was approved only two years after its construction. Tabone had the right to enlarge, pull down and rebuilt it, besides he could nominate the Rector and found a Confraternity of the Most Holy Crucifix. In 1575 there was a terrible plague: the population in Alcamo, about 7,700, was cut in half, according to the historian Ignazio De Blasi and a lot of people were buried in the cemetery Sant'Ippolito, in the western suburb. As the old hospitals of San Vito and Santo Spirito were not sufficient to receive so many plague victims, they set up a new one in the same street of the Chapel.

Owing to their economic difficulties which did not allow to complete the Church, in 1596 the administrators of the Confraternity decided to assign the Church to the Order of Minims of Saint Francis of Paola. In 1608 the Minims accepted the donation and built the adjoining friary which they maintained until 1866; since 1870 it hosted the Royal Gimnasium, and, after 1870, the Civic Hospital.

  • The miracle happened during the building of the friary at Paternò Calabro (province of Cosenza) in 1454: two workers had died owing to a landslide and were resurrected by the Saint (the first on the right).
  • The wonderful miracle of the fish made by saint Francis of Paola (the second painting on the right)
  • A nobleman's family presents their baby without eyes and mouth; once again saint Francis makes an extraordinary miracle (first painting on the left wall);
  • The conversion of the King of Naples, due to the Saint (second painting on the left).
  • The founding of the Hebraic Easter (book of Exodus), on the right wall of the chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament;
  • The banquet given by Lot to two Angels (book of Genesis), a painting on the left wall in the same chapel;
  • Cataldo, Carlo (1982). Guida storico-artistica dei beni culturali di Alcamo-Calatafimi-castellammare Golfo p. 76-78-79 (in Italian). Alcamo: Sarograf. 
  • Collura, Matteo (2008). Sicilia sconosciuta-Itinerari insoliti e curiosi (in Italian). 
  • Dara, Sergio (2014). Per crucem ad lucem: la chiesa del SS. Crocifisso di Alcamo e la sua confraternita nella parrocchia di San Francesco di Paola: cinque secoli di storia al servizio di Dio e degli uomini / a cura di Luigi Culmone ; consulenza storico-artistica di Paola Bottecchia (in Italian). Alcamo: Rotary international, Club di Alcamo. 
  • Mistretta di Paola canonico, Vincenzo (1950). La Chiesa del SS. Crocifisso ora Chiesa parrocchiale di San Francesco di Paola (in Italian). Alcamo. 


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