Churches Standing in Termini-Imerese During the Time when Codex A was Compiled (1542-48)

Cathedral of San Giacomo (1209) Originally the seat of a bishop.

The establishment of Roman Catholicism as the principal religion of Sicily occurred during the 1200s when the island was ruled by the House of Hohenstaufen. The Cathedral of San Giacomo, that is to say, where the seat (cathedra) of the bishop is located, dates from this era.

However, prior to this era, there were already bishops seated in Termini Imerese.  Four of them are known from the lists of bishops who attended the great Medieval councils which dealt with Christian affairs, especially dogma. Whether the first three were responsible to the Pope in Rome, or to the Emperor in Constantinople (who headed the Eastern Orthodox Church) is yet to be learned.

1) Bishop Elpedio attended the Council of Chalcedon (just across the Bosporus from Constantinople)  in 451 AD. He is listed as: Hepidio Thermensis majoris.

2) Bishop Giovanni attended the 6th Council of Constantinople in 680 AD. He is listed as Exiguus Sancte Ecclesia Termensis Provinciae Siciliae.

3) Bishop Giorgio attended the 2nd Nicene Council (across the Bosporus, 43 miles from Constantinople)  in 787 AD

4) Bishop Pasquale attended the 1st Lateran Council (in Rome) in 1123 AD

Termini-Imerese has had a titular (honorary) bishop since 1967. Although the see is named Termae Himerae, the titular bishop is not attached to the cathedral of San Giacomo (which, as can be seen, has lost its roof) or any other church in Termini Imerese. For many centuries, Termini Imerese has been in the diocese of Palermo. Exactly when it lost its status as a see, is still undetermined.

Cathedral of San Giacomo

Cathedral of San Giacomo

San Giacomo

The Nave of San Giacomo Cathedral

Santa Caterina del Egitto (late 1300′s) Dedicated to a patron saint of female slaves, the interior walls contain outstanding frescoes created in 1486 by the Graffeo Brothers, Nicola and Giacomo.

Church of S. Caterina

Santa Caterina del Egitto

Santa Lucia (1400′s) Dedicated to a patron saint of female slaves.

Church of Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia

Santa Maria Annunziata (1400′s) Caskets are located beneath the church.


Santa Maria Annunziata

Monastery of San Pietro (1400′s)

Monastery of San Pietro

Monastery of San Pietro Church

Santa Maria Misericordia (1400′s) Not to be confused with the church in Termini-Imerese now bearing that name, was located on the grounds now occupied by a 16th-century hall which has been incorporated into the Museo Civico. Known as Santa Maria l’Antico (the old), this is in reference to Santa Maria la Nova (the new), the latter of which stood on the area now occupied by San Nicola Bari, the Mother Church of Termini-Imerese.

Santa Maria la Nova (before 1430) Rededicated by 1430 to San Nicola Bari, patron saint of sailors, San Nicola Bari is known as the Mother Church, i.e. the primary church of Termini-Imerese.  The Archpriest in 1430 was  Leonardo de Ruzillono. A designation ‘Il Duomo’, that is to say ‘Cathedral’ is also used in referring to San Nicola Bari, although Termini has not been the seat (cathedra) of a bishop since c. 1200 when one was in residence at the nearby Cathedral of San Giacomo. The Convent of San Domenico (c. 1543) is associated with the church of San Nicola Bari.

Rebuilt many times: the most-significant work occurred at San Nicola as follows: in the 1500’s when the church was enlarged, during the 1600s when a Baroque interior was created, and in 1912 when the façade was added over the original stark exterior.


San Nicola Bari

A Roman Forum built in the 1st century BCE once stood on the land comprising the church and plaza. One wonders to which god or goddess the forum temple was dedicated. Could it have been it Isis, whose attribute as Mater Maris Stella (Our Lady Star of the Sea) was transferred over the centuries to Santa Maria (The Blessed Virgin Mary) and San Nicola Bari?

Santa Maria di Gesu (1472) Erected outside the original city walls, the Convent of the Observant Minorities was built together with this church.

Church of Santa Maria di Gesu`

Santa Maria di Gesu

Monastery of Santa Chiara (c. 1492) A Synagogue once stood on this spot during the years preceding 1492, at which time the Jews of Termini were forced to leave or convert to Catholicism and hand over 45% of their holdings to the Spanish Crown.

Cloisters of the San Marco Franciscan Monastery

Cloisters of the Santa Chiara Monastery located next to the church of San Marco.


Sant’Orsola (1499) In the cellar are fabulous catacombs including the bodies of nobles, priests, and monks. One of Termini’s Medieval town towers is built into the church. Saint Orsola is the patron saint of orphans.

Sant'Orsola Church


Sant'Orsola tower

Medieval Town Tower of Sant’Orsola


The catacombs of Sant’Orsola

Santissima Maria della Misericordia (perhaps 1400′s)

Church of M. SS. Misericordia

Santissima Maria della Misericordia

San Sebastiano (1400’s?) Torn down in the 1600′s to obtain the land for Santa Maria del Monte di Pieta

San Gerardo (1400’s?) Torn down in the 1600′s to obtain the land for Santa Maria del Monte di Pieta

San Francesco DiPaola (1500′s) A crypt exists beneath this church similar to the one at the church of Sant’ Orsola.

Church of San Francesco di Paola

San Francesco DiPaola

Santa Maria dell’Odigitria (1500′s)

Church of M. dell'Odigitria

Santa Maria dell’Odigitria

Santissima Maria del Carmelo (1500′s)

Church of M. SS. del Carmelo2

Santissima Maria del Carmelo

San Giovanni Battista (1500′s) As a result of an earthquake, only the bell tower remains today.

San Giovanne Battista tower

San Giovanne Battista: the remaining bell tower

San Girolamo (1500′s)

Church of San Girolamo

San Girolamo

Santissima Maria della Consolazione (original church built in the 1500′s) Known as the ‘Miraculi’, it is mentioned in Codex B as the center of a parish. The present church is the 2nd ‘Miraculi’ which dates from the 1700′s.

Church of M.  SS. Consolazione

‘The 2nd Miraculi’: Santissima Maria della Consolazione


Codex B. Later on in the 16th Century, in addition to the plethora of Baptisms recorded for the San Nicola Baptistery, the Sacrament was also administered at the 1st ‘Miraculi’ by Padre Salvo Salerno. These entries are for January of 1568. Note that Miraculi is spelled ‘mjraculj’ in the manuscript. / Photo courtesy of Father Anthony Delisi.

Published on July 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am a descendant of Augustino Delisi who was born in Termine Imerese and baptized in that town. Please let me know if he is related to Father Delisi.

  2. I am a descendant of D. Ignazio Caruso (b. 12-6-1853) and Domenica Scalia (b. 6-10-1857)). Would you have any information on how I can find their baptismal records. Both were born in Termini Imerese.

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