Church of Jesus or Professed House (Chiesa del Gesù o Casa Professa)
It is the first church built by the Jesuits in Sicily, dating back to 1564, testimony of the arrival of the Jesuits in Sicily in 1549, and is one of the most spectacular churches of Sicily. Designed by the Jesuit Giovanni Tristano, was enlarged by the addition of two side chapels from Natale Masuccio, and a new dome (half of 600’s).
The facade is simple and has an important eighteenth-century statue of the "Madonna of the Grotta'' (Vergin of the Cave).The interior is a wonderful example of Sicilian Baroque due to the profusion of decorations and carvings of marble, stucco reliefs, and many sculptures of Antonio Gagini and paintings of Filippo Randazzo and Pietro Novelli. To the right of the church lies the Casa Professa (Professed House), residence of the Jesuits, with its beautiful portal and seventeenth-century cloister and the nearby Via Ballarò, where typical food market is, one of the oldest market in Palermo.
In 1892 the cav. Salvatore Di Pietro, a former rector of Professed House and philanthropist, prefect of studies at the seminary, Theological College and a member of the Academy of Sciences by decree of 1888, he obtained, thanks to the Minister of Education Paolo Boselli, that the temple was declared a National Monument. The building underwent several changes during the centuries until the bombing of the Second World War did not damaged beyond repair. After two years of restoration, the church was inaugurated on 24th of February 2009. The most spectacular part of the building is definitely the platform of the apse, decorated by Adoration of the Shepherds (1710-1714) and Adoration of the Magi (1719-1721), marble bas-reliefs placed on the platform, by Gioacchino Vitagliano on models of Giacomo Serpotta.
GOOD TO KNOW: The Church of Jesus arose in a refuge for hermits as St. Calogero, who is said he lived in a cave inside, you can still visit the early Christian caves under the Church. In the novel ‘’the Leopard’’ by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, is mentioned a visit from Father Pirrone to Professed House, during a carriage ride to Palermo and a large space in the novel is dedicated to the description of the church and its decorations.
Church of Jesus or Professed House is included in our walking tour or by car or minivan with driver/guide.