The Church of St. Giacomo is located in the historical city centre, between the stairs of Scalinata Monumentale, that connect the upper part with the lower part of the city. It is one of the oldest remaining monuments in Termini Imerese: historical notes about the Church have been found in literature since 1439, but recent archaeological excavations have highlighted the possibility that its construction took place under the empire of Frederick II (1198-1250), while other sources trace its construction under the reign of Roger II (1130-1154). In addition, the Church was the seat of the Bishopric until the Normans took away this role.

The History

Before the construction of St. Nicola di Bari Church, the current Cathedral of Termini Imerese, the Church of St. Giacomo held this fundamental role until the beginning of the 16th century when, for geographical reasons, the newest Church was preferred as Cathedral, since it is located in the heart of the urban activities. In the early 20th century, after the death of the last friar left attached to the sanctuary, the Church was definitively abandoned. By sheer luck the Church was not destroyed by a bomb in 1943, in fact, it pierced the roof, but once at the ground, it did not explode.

No longer used as a place of worship, today has been included by the Association HimerAzione in the itinerary of the famous Living Nativity of the city.

Architecture and Art

The Church underwent several changes over the centuries, the current configuration was completed around the middle of the 18th century. Although several restoration operations were commissioned through the ages, the community abandoned the Church. For this reason, today what can be mainly admired is the building’s architecture.

The Church is divided into three naves by columns and a structure with pointed arches that, along with other elements visible in particular in the entrance arch, allow us to understand that the Church was built on other buildings of Roman times.

Fun fact

This fun fact was reported by Santo Schifano and can be found in the collection of 4 vol. Storie Siciliane by Isidoro La Lumia:

“Morte di Ferdinando il Cattolico 05 Marzo 1516- Atto di notar Filippo Giacomo d’Ugo nella matrice Chiesa di Termin (La Chiesa di san Giacomo era l’antica Matrice di Termini)– Gl’Illustri, Eccellenti e molto Magnifici signori marchese di Geraci, marchese di Licodia, conte di Cammarata, conte di San Marco, conte di Golisano, barone di Ciminna, barone di Realmuto, tanto nomine proprio quanto come procuratori di altri baroni che restarono nella felice città di Palermo, volendo evitare gli scandali, omicidi ed altri danni, si partirono ieri di detta città, e venuti in questa (di Termini) hanno fatto i funerali per la morte della Sacra Maestà del re nostro Ferdinando, e ad alta voce invocano il nome della maestà della regina Giovanna e del principe di lei figlio primogenito, per dichiarare la loro mente ed il cuore fedele. Intervenuti per testimoni i magnifici signori Angelo de Serio Capitano, Niccolò di Buonafede, Giovanni Fazano e Vincenzo de Vita Giurati, il Venerabile Presbitero Bartolomeo De Matteo Vice-Arciprete e Vicario, Antonino Romano Segreto, Giovanni Antonio De Vitale Vice-Portulano.23 Gennaro 1516- Ferdinando il Cattolico scendeva nella tomba a Granata, e la consorte Isabella ve lo avea preceduto. In difetto di legittima discendenza maschile, l’unica loro figlia Giovanna, impalmata all’Arciduca Filippo D’Austria, era stata nel 1503 dal Parlamento di Sicilia riconosciuta futura erede del regno”

This testimony highlights the significance of St. Giacomo Church in the Sicilian context, at the time when it was still the Cathedral of Termini Imerese. A place of worship considered so relevant to hold the funeral of Frederick IV known as Frederick the Catholic.

 

Sitografia:

Immagini: Gentilmente concesse da Roberto Tedesco

Revisione: Gentilmente effettuata da Manuela Sinatra

Traduzione: Gentilmente realizzata da Giovanna Sodaro

di Giacomo Sperandeo