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.
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.
Santa Lucia (1400′s) Dedicated to a patron saint of female slaves.
Santa Maria Annunziata (1400′s) Caskets are located beneath the church.
Monastery of San Pietro (1400′s)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Santissima Maria della Misericordia (perhaps 1400′s)
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.
Santa Maria dell’Odigitria (1500′s)
Santissima Maria del Carmelo (1500′s)
San Giovanni Battista (1500′s) As a result of an earthquake, only the bell tower remains today.
San Girolamo (1500′s)
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.