Church of the Cappucins Taormina

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October, 2017

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The Church of the Cappucins is outside the city wall, close to the Church of St Pancras, but architecturally very different to it. The original church of St Catherine of Alexander had been built here around 1400. The church was sold to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin who arrived in Taormina in the mid C16th, to establish a convent here. The money was used to build another church dedicated to St Catherine inside the walls.

The convent was suppressed and the property confiscated in 1866. Part of it was used as a prison. The Antonine nuns took possession of the old convent in 1902 and ran a kindergarten and middle school for girls living in their orphanage. The tall bell tower was built in 1932 replacing a smaller bell tower and architecturally looks out of place.

The interior of the church has preserved the simple style of a Capuchin building with a wall pulpit reached by stairs in the wall. Above the west door is a balcony reached by a spiral staircase. In front of the door is a painted wood screen.

The east end is dominated by a wooden altar with massive wood reredos above it. This has a large painting of the Virgin and Child with her parents St Anne and St Joseph, on either side. Below are other saints including St Pancras, St Catherine, St Dominica and Francis of Assisi. The framed paintings on either side are of St Anthony of Padua and Saint Clare of Assisi, a follower of St Francis, who founded the Order of St Clare.

There are three small chapels set off the left wall. Along the right wall are small altars dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Anthony of Padua .

There are more pictures and information about Taormina “here.”:


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