The Shrine of the Lord of Bilici

Some folk tales tell about the foundation of the shrine and the creation of the wooden crucifix that is preserved inside that shrine. According to some tales, a young shepherd (according to others he was a farmer or a bandit) named Vanni Calabrisi (original name of Fra Innocenzo da Petralia, whose real name was Giovanni Giuseppe Calabrese) picked up a piece of wood and tried to realize a crucifix, but he was not able to depict Christ’s face. After he had fallen asleep, as soon as he got up, he saw that the face was miraculously sculpted.

In the XVII century, the Minor Friars of Petralia donated to the Duchess Maria Alvarez Ferrandina a wooden crucifix, made by Brother Innocenzo from Petralia. On rd May 1638, that is a very important date for the shrine, it was transported to Castel Belici. On 3rd May 1645 the statue was solemnly blessed with the approval of the Bishop.

The church that hosts the beautiful crucifix, is set in the territory of Petralia Sottana, so it is part of the diocese of Cefalù, although the responsible for the sanctuary is the pastor of Marianopoli (diocese of Caltanissetta). This church was part of a larger group of buildings that resulted from (a mixture of) a destroyed castle and a XVI – XVII centuries farm. It was built in a strategic location, in other words at the crossroads of important roads of that time, that linked the neighbouring towns and important centres of the island with Palermo.

The festivities are celebrated every year on 3rd May.

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