Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Croci - Monreale

Source: Willem Vandenameele

The "Santuario Madonna delle Croci" ( Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Crosses ) is an important religious complex in Monreale and one of the most picturesque places, dedicated to the veneration of the Madonna delle Croci.

The road leading to this sacred temple is the ancient Via Crucis , built in memory of the Mission preached in 1787 during Lent. It starts at the church of San Francesco d'Assisi and winds its way up the Salita delle Croci, leading to the slopes of Monte Caputo where a small chapel once stood as the last of the 14 stations.

Legend tells that in these places, on March 25 , 1812 , the young Matteo Giovan Battista Angelo Quartuccio saw Our Lady of Sorrows with the dead Christ appear on his knees above a wild olive tree. Seeing the boy, the Virgin summoned him to offer warm bread and speak to him. After further encounters , he had a vision in which the Madonna outlined the features of the shrine named after her: "The sacred building must have seven terraces, with the bell tower behind the church, higher than all, to indicate that the meditation of the pains of Jesus and Mary exalts the Christian to God".

Today in the sanctuary you can admire the large fresco by Francesco Manno depicting the Holy Spirit with a dove amidst angelic figures. Behind the altar hangs a large canvas that recalls the apparition of the Madonna to Matteo Quartuccio, on the spot where the Sanctuary now stands.

From the terraces of the sanctuary , thanks to its characteristic position on one of the highest points of Monreale, it is possible to enjoy a unique view of the core of the abbey with the mighty cathedral and a breathtaking panorama of the city of Palermo and the whole Conca d'Oro.

The sanctuary consists of a chapel or small church dedicated to the Madonna delle Croci. Pilgrims come to the shrine to pray, light candles and show their devotion to the Virgin Mary.

The Madonna delle Croci is venerated as the patron saint of Monreale and is associated with miraculous healings and favours.


Source: Willem Vandenameele - ChatGTP

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