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The Sanctuary is located 800 metres above sea level, right next to St. Angelo’s Mountain. A large Capuchin Monks convent is annexed to the Sanctuary. The monks have in fact been looking after the church for centuries. The Sanctuary was built in the eleventh century, and it was under reconstruction from 1619 to 1624. The Chapel of the Virgin Mary was completed in 1625, when the magnificent mixed marble altarpiece by Pampillonia was installed.
The sanctuary is a pilgrimage destination and a place of worship. Several artworks are kept here, amongst which a statue of St. John Baptist ( by Scipione Casella), a statue of St. Elena (by Gagini 1543-1554), and the precious marble simulacrum of the Virgin Mary of Gibilmanna. The author of the simulacrum is unknown (it was certainly made by a scholar of Gagini). However most people agree the simulacrum embodies an ideal of beauty, which is the outcome of an unparalleled splendour. Finally, deserving to be mentioned, are the two beautiful statues of the nudes kneeling in the flames of the purgatory, gazing with begging eyes at the Virgin Mary.
The old portico was demolished in 1907 and a much wider one was reconstructed.
– Cefalù nella Storia a cura di Mons. Giuseppe Misuraca
– Gibilmanna Monte della Fede – Portera Domenico
– Le Madonie – Guida all’arte – Anselmo Salvatore
Contrada Valle Grande, Frazione di Gibilmanna, 90015