Church of San Pancrazio (Taormina)

Search Hotel, B&B and Vacation Homes

The Church of San Pancrazio in Taormina is located just outside the city walls, near the so-called Byzantine Baths. The construction of the building dates back to the Byzantine period, reusing the remains of an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the gods Isis and Serapis. Inside the church is kept the statue of San Pancrazio, which is carried in procession through the streets of Taormina every year on July 9th.

History and architecture of the Church of San Pancrazio in Taormina

The first construction of the Church of San Pancrazio of Taormina dates back to the period between the 6th and 9th centuries, incorporating the ruins of a pre-existing Greek temple. During the 1600’s the original building was enlarged and decorated according to the taste of the time, namely Baroque. The entrance portal is entirely in Taormina stone with two columns on each side in the Ionic style. On the right side there is a statue of St. Procopius, while the one on the left side represents St. Maximus or St. Pancratius. Along the interior walls of the church, decorated in Baroque style, there are several paintings and frescoes. On the right we find: the canvas dedicated to the martyrdom of Bishop St. Nicone and his 99 monks and the one representing St. Peter consecrating St. Maximus as bishop. On the left there is the canvas dedicated to the martyrdom of St. Procopius and a fresco depicting Bishop Theophanes Cerameo delivering his sermon.

The church and the Temple of Isis and Serapis

The church of San Pancrazio in Taormina was built on a Greek temple dedicated to Isis and Serapis. The attribution to these Egyptian deities was made possible by the discovery of two inscriptions, one in Greek and the other in Latin. The shrine dates from the late 3rd and early 2nd centuries B.C. and was of the distyle type in antis, on a high podium. The north and south walls of the temple, made of large square blocks of local white limestone, are still visible. Over the centuries, excavations have brought to light several archaeological finds. These include a statue of a priestess of Isis, now in the Salinas Museum in Palermo, and a gold ring with a Greek inscription.

The Feast of San Pancrazio in Taormina

Behind the high altar of the Church of San Pancrazio in Taormina, there is a niche containing the statue of St. Pancrazio. It dates back to 1885 and is made of papier-mâché decorated with pure gold. Every year on July 9th, Taormina celebrates the feast day of St. Pancras. The festivities in the city actually begin on June 29. On this occasion the statue of St. Peter, which is present in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, is transferred to the Church of San Pancrazio. The statues of the two saints are then taken in procession to the Cathedral of Taormina, where they will remain until July 9th. On that day another procession will take place to return the statues to their home churches.

Aggiungi ai preferiti

Leave a Reply

See others sights