Church Aracoeli

with crypt.

The church of Aracoeli, built around the XII century., After the expulsion of the Saracens from S. Marco, at the behest of a Jew converted to Catholicism, was designated by the name of St. Mary of Viseli the Greek nation.
Small to the foundation, the church was enlarged in 1494, while in 1630 it was renovated and enlarged further.

 

The structure, 3 naves divided by red marble columns of S. Marco, has a vaulted ceiling and a real magnificent baroque portal, also in local marble.
There are several chapels including that of the right transept where, among cherubs, angels and marble statues, of Serpotta school, houses a miraculous wooden crucifix by Mastro Simioni Livolsi, sculptor Tusa whose procession, was established in 1612 and It is repeated on the last Friday of March, with the ancient ritual.

 

 

In the chapel of the left hand, there is the chapel of SS. Sacramento with its gilded wooden tabernacle by Don Corrado Oddo.
Worthy of admiration, the marble altar with various color schemes, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

La cripta della famiglia GRECO

Con la sua cripta.

In the year 1722 it is obtained the putridarium underground with vaulted ceilings, as burial vault from the Greek family.
Under the chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael, at the western transept, there is a small underground room of 3.50 x 2 m, with vaulted ceilings, which is accessed via a steep staircase of twelve steps in red marble. Inside the burial chamber you will have eight niches, six of which are equipped with seat with center hole for draining corpses and connected to a pipe that allowed the collection of sewage and their cadaverous spill outside of the religious building.

On the wall opposite the entrance to a sort of tank, 88 cm wide and 68 high, is the ossuary that had accumulated the skeletal remains of individuals after the draining. Above the niches along the longitudinal walls, there are two ledges for the laying of the skulls. A window, open in the bottom wall above the ossuary, is the only source of light of the environment. The small burial chamber was built by the Greek family, as shown by the pavement slab that originally covered the entrance to the tomb and which is preserved today behind the church choir. The plate is divided into two parts, it bears the coat of arms of the family Greek represents two climbing lions addressed above three pomegranates and the following inscription:

 

GRÆCORVˇ, HVCPO
SVIT,RADIX,BENEDOC 
 TASEPVLCVˇSIHICARA
   ESTCÆLIPROXI§ÆTHER 
ADEST 1722

 

The Greco family had the patronage of the chapel of San Michele under which, in 1722, he built his own tomb.

 

 

The mummies are kept within the small family crypt built by the Greek, in the south transept of the Church of Aracoeli. Their location within this small underground room, which is occasionally open to visitors, is a reconstruction made recently by Don Salvatore Miracola, parish priest of San Marco d'Alunzio, with bodies found at different times in different areas of the church. A skeletonized body was placed in a sitting position, wearing a kind of large capacity in raw fabric, in a niche-gully and is actually a good example of the process of draining the strainers per session. Three other bodies are placed inside wooden boxes placed on a wall that stands in the middle of the room, beyond which opens a hot-ossuary partially filled with the skeletal remains disconnected. A small cash infant containing the skeletonized body of a child, is resting on the floor. The boxes have a rectangular shape and some are coated with dark fabric, superimposed with a decoration in ribbons of white cloth fixed with small nails along the edges, the type also observed at other sites, such as in Galati Mamertino. Another body is simply placed over the lid of a chest. On the basis of the clothes, it was possible to identify two males, one female, one of indeterminate sex and a child of indeterminate sex. The robes are kept in excellent condition. In particular an individual male wearing a jacket with long sleeves, a red neck bow, port of gloves, has long trousers in tatters; on the shins are resting a top hat of black felt. An individual, obviously female, wearing an elaborate brightly colored dress. The bodice is white polka dots with darts and there is a kind of leaning over handkerchief tied. Has a long skirt down to her ankles that reveals a skirt, also wearing brown gloves decorated with motifs embroidered in white, it shows a rosary around his left wrist and lobes door hoop earrings with beads. Wearing light-colored socks and shoes; the sides of the body is placed along a blue shawl with fringes. The other two mummies are dressed so much poorer with large sacks of woven hemp and cotton. One of them, belonging to a male individual, shows the head and shoulders covered by a hood-type confraternal with two holes for the eyes. Above the two long sides of the environment and on the corresponding side of the entrance there is a frame on which are resting skulls nine; the other two are positioned at the sides of a crate.

In addition to the funerary complex of San Marco d'Alunzio, in the province of Messina there are other crypts:

 

SAVOCA

Another relevant example of funerary environment with seats gully, is located on the hill of Pentefur, overlooking a stunning location with a view of the Sea of Sicily stands the village of Savoca (ME).

 

TROINA

in the crypt of the Brotherhood of the Whites under the cathedral or to that of the SS. Sacramento in the Mother Church of Tusa.

 

PIRAINO

This small town in the north eastern Sicily, placed in a dominant position on a hilly spur that the mountain system Nebrodi goes toward the Tyrrhenian Sea, adjacent to the Cathedral Church retains a tomb for priests in three different environments.

 

TUSA

An interesting model of the tomb confraternity, which differs slightly from the most common types in the system with a central plan, has been documented in Tusa .(ME).

 

NOVARA DI SICILIA

Another relevant example of the grave for the preparation and exposure of clergymen is located in Novara of Sicily, in the church of S. Maria Annunziata.

 

S. LUCIA DEL MELA

The mummified remains of several individuals or skeletonized are preserved in a crypt annexed to the former Capuchin monastery.

 

 

MILITELLO ROSMARINO

Under the Mother Church is a crypt in which are preserved several dozen mummies, but the environment is inaccessible for many years and left in a state of complete abandonment.

 

PETTINEO

The bodies are kept in a crypt under the floor of the church of the Capuchin Monastery.