Among the huge complex of the artistic and cultural heritage of Termini Imerese, religious art takes a prominent place; thanks to the meeting between popular folklore and religious devotion, we had the birth of a myth such as the “Miraculous Black Crucifix of Termini Imerese”.
This ancient crucifix may be considered one of the most ancient Crucifixes in Sicily; full-sized, it is currently placed inside the Cathedral of the city, within the “St. Gaetano Chapel” (the second one on the right aisle), but it was originally placed at the well-known “Chiesa dell’Annunziata”, certainly one of the most symbolic and important places in the city. According to the Vincenzo Solito’s reconstructions, an historian from Termini Imerese, the work in ebony and gold,by an unknown author, would be dated back to a period between the XIV and the XV century, when Sicily still was an Aragon colony; it is almost certain that the crucifix was donated to the City of Termini Imerese directly by the sovereign of the time, Alfonso V of Aragon, called “the Gracious”, since he was “[…] cure to all the afflictions and tribulations of the city”.
Rumour has it that exposing the Black Crucifix in a parade may have saved Termini from an extended drought three times! Solito reports the dates : “così successe alli 20 di ottobre del 1618. Alli 3 d’aprile del 1625. Alli 4 di novembre del 1630” [“So it had happened the day 20 October 1618. The day 3 April 1625. The day 4 November 1630”]. But that is not all! The artwork is widely remembered among the population as the “Fishmen’s Crucifix” because they used to bring it to a parade, barefoot, from where the Chiesa dell’Annunziata used to be placed, and through the historical streets of the city, they would bring it to Piazza Sant’Anna, on the lower side of the city. Then they would bring the crucifix to the sea, make it touch the water, asking the divine intercession in order to ensure a plentiful catch, screaming “E chiamumula ca n’aiuta… Evviva u Crucifissu da Nunziata” [“Let’s call her, may She help us… Cheers to the Annunziata’s Crucifix”]. Moreover, part of the “votive offerings” connected to the crucifix have just the form of boats and fish, and we can find them on display at the museum of the rectory of the Cathedral.
The Black Crucifix of Termini Imerese is not the only one in Sicily. Another example can be found in Caltanissetta, also in ebony and dated back to the XIV century , which on Good Friday is carried in procession by the “Fogliamari”, brought on the shoulders and barefoot, while burning incense and singing funeral chants full of sorrow.
BIBLIOGRAFIA: Vincenzo Solito “TERMINI HIMERESE CITTA ‘ DELLA SICILIA POSTA IN TEATRO..etc”
Termini Imerese: La suggestiva Via Crucis col Crocifisso Nero apre i Riti Pasquali https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o9Et1jMrHQ&fbclid=IwAR0V3SxNSDtQEbLRP09FBoqIURFInsbMEqZ5-L6qNooWvf4qTak-nfEZcBA
Il Cristo Nero di Siculiana
Traduzione inglese di: Giulia Ceraulo
Traduzione Francese di: Silvia Cirivello