Parrocchia SS. Trinità Basilica Santa Croce - Lecce

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Basilica Santa Croce - Lecce

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Basilica Pontificia di S. Croce

The Basilica of St. Cross, the place that we admire and appearance dates back to 1548, but its history, with the annexed convent Celestine Fathers is more articulate.

Two centuries earlier, in 1352, Count of Lecce and Duke 's Athens, Walter IV of Brienne in the city introduced the Order of Celestine (which was named after the founder of Pope Celestine V, born Pietro da Morrone) by granting the Bishop Roberto de 'Noha and the Cathedral Chapter area that includes the Church of the Holy Cross, which stood opposite the present wall southwest of the Castle. Walter wanted to change this name and dedicated to St. Mary of the Annunciation and St. Leonard Confessor. Traditionally, the church continued to call St. Cross, although it was included among the assets of the Celestine Fathers.

This church was demolished by order of King Charles V, as Lecce, considered strategic town of the Spanish Viceroy, needed an urban redevelopment in order to counter the threat of invasion. It is fortified and expanded the castle and city walls, well being of the growing number of monasteries and convents and settlements to population growth.

Particolare Basilica Pontificia di S. Croce

So the Spaniards of Charles V, having to enlarge the castle with ramparts, moats and yards, gave the Celestine place large enough to build from scratch church and convent, in a section of the new ramparts. Supported the Order for the new company with substantial annual sum of 200 ducats from the revenues of the Royal Customs.

Ten years on from the provisions of Charles V in 1548, work began to build churches and monasteries, giving priority to this, as the monks needed to stay local.

Celestine I commissioned the work to Gabriele Riccardi (Beli Licciardo). The new church was titrated to S. Cross over this name to establish a continuity with the past and tradition, had a strong reference to the Cross which triumphs over evil and paganism. In 1571 the victory of Lepanto had a heavy defeat on the infidel Turks, a fact particularly appropriate to celebrate Faith and S. Cross.

The church must be continued and substantial funding.

Basilica Pontificia di S. Croce

Riccardi expressed the art of the Renaissance, which had its basis in models medieval, Romanesque and late Gothic and the emerging baroque style already popular in Spain. Strikes all through a framework humanistic be doing this contamination with the original architecture of the building and majestic.

Dead Riccardi workers continued work that had formed in his school.

For over half a century took turns architects and craftsmen, the church complex was completed in 1695, as is shown by an inscription.

The Celestine Fathers, enriched the church for three centuries of pomp which corresponded to the substances of their order (Abbot Celestine also boasted the title of Baron).

1807 February 13 with a Royal Decree ordering the suppression of the Celestine. The church then had a period of abandonment between 1814 and 1818 was even used as a deposit by an individual. Due to ongoing looting and vandalism, to avoid the dispersion of some works of art was provided to the transfer of two altars, some paintings and statues in the church of S. Matthew and the Cathedral. Balustrades and the altar were placed in the chapel of the Assumption Cathedral in St. Matthew comes from S. Cross the altar of the Virgin of Light and the Virgin Mary.

Particolare Basilica Pontificia di S. Croce

In 1820 the Superintendency of Terra d 'Otranto proposed to allocate the Provincial Archives to church, the bishop of Lecce Mgr. Caputo partially welcomed the proposal allowing most of the large rooms of the sacristy.

A Government Decree of 1828 ordered the restoration of the temple began to crumble. The church was entrusted to the Brotherhood of SS. Trinity and St. Philip Blacks. The statue of Queen Maria d 'Enghien, part of the original church of the Castle, which dominates the entrance to the cloister went irretrievably lost.

In 1906 the church was recognized as a National Monument, Pius X gave it the title of basilica minor in 1913 became a parish.

During World War II to protect the prospectus, built a brick facing buttress structured to protect the monument from war damage.


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