Casa Professa Palermo – Church of Saint Mary of Gesu

Chiesa del Gesù, Piazza Casa Professa, Palermo, Italija

Website of the Sanctuary

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7.oo am - 11.30 am & 5.00 pm - 6.30 pm - Mon-Sat, 7.00 am - 12.30 pm Sun, closed afternoon

Casa Professa Palermo

In the neighborhood of Capo in Palermo, the Church of the Immaculate is a fascinating baroque jewel by the Society of Jesus at its most glorious period in the city. This stunning church is revealed to the viewer, curious and adventurous.

Also known as Casa Professa Palermo, this is one of Palermo’s most breathtaking churches. The Jesuits first built a church on this site between 1564 and 1578. Incorporated into a larger church in 1633, the building was significantly restored after suffering major bomb damage in WWII. While the church’s facade displays relative restraint typical of the late 16th century, its transept, apses and dome burst with 17th-century baroque extravagance. The dome’s vault is decorated with a fresco attributed to Pietro Novelli.

Casa Professa Palermo

More of Novelli’s brilliance awaits in the second chapel on the right, home to his psychologically intense St Philip of Argiro and equally arresting St Paul the Hermit, both works executed in around 1635. (by Lonely planet)

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The Entrance in the Casa Professa Palermo

The entrance stairway to the temple is divided into two parts: three steps followed by a pause then four more steps. Once we passed the three theological virtues‚ faith hope and charity we get into the Temple through the four cardinals virtues which refer to the Euclidean square namely Man himself.

The chapel of the Jesuit Baroque is one among the most beautiful in Italy. In addition to the ornamented walls we see a nave with a stunning floor. The nave is rythmed by stars morning stars, sea stars, wind stars. What does this church have to say? An absolute allegory of Mary.

Casa Professa Palermo

On the ground, in the earthly dimension Mary is presented as the guide absolute for mankind in any weather condition, as well as bad, by night and by day. The paintings: all of them are allegorical and aim to prepare spiritually those who usually come to this church, the nuns.

The paintings are quite difficult to understand but the sisters will have a lifetime..

This ceiling affirms Mary’s historical legitimacy concordant with the Old Alliance. It prepares the understanding of what Mary means exactly, human born of the will of God she is the logical heir of the great heroines in the Bible, from Esther, who defended the Jews to Yael and Judith


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Mary will be the great triumphant maiden and for Christians the ultimate one against the serpent, the devil.

The organ pipes, when we count them, we notice there are 33 of them. Then we have two small statues: on one side the Ascension of Mary. On the other side St. Benedict. Music introduces the triumph of God. At this precise moment we leave the earth to reach heaven.

The Immaculate Conception

Historically the period when the church was built is the apex in the invention of the concept of the Immaculate Conception. It had a long and complex history in the Christian world the dispute lasted 19 centuries with no solution, that’s why a dogma was proclaimed in 1854. It has been a beautiful intellectual journey.

Like the one through the symbols here presented. We recognize the Fons Mirabilis, which recalls the medieval fountain of eternal youth, the Father’s House Door, the Tower of David, Mary embodies the new legitimacy in the father’s house, then the Spotless Mirror.

Casa Professa Palermo

These are only some of the symbols that refer to the then new liturgy still in use today in the Catholic world. To each star on the floor, correspond statues in apparent opposition they are complementary, so as to create a connecting arc between them.

Photo credits:

  • By Erik den yngre – Own work,
  • By Tango7174 – Own work, GFDL
  • By Fabio P. – Own work

While the church’s facade displays relative restraint typical of the late 16th century, its transept, apses and dome burst with 17th-century baroque extravagance. The dome’s vault is decorated with a fresco attributed to Pietro Novelli.

The Entrance in the Casa Professa Palermo

The entrance stairway to the temple is divided into two parts: three steps followed by a pause then four more steps. Once we passed the three theological virtues‚ faith hope and charity we get into the Temple through the four cardinals virtues which refer to the Euclidean square namely Man himself.

The chapel of the Jesuit Baroque is one among the most beautiful in Italy. In addition to the ornamented walls we see a nave with a stunning floor. The nave is rythmed by stars morning stars, sea stars, wind stars. What does this church have to say? An absolute allegory of Mary.

On the ground, in the earthly dimension Mary is presented as the guide absolute for mankind in any weather condition, as well as bad, by night and by day. The paintings: all of them are allegorical and aim to prepare spiritually those who usually come to this church, the nuns.

The paintings are quite difficult to understand but the sisters will have a lifetime..

This ceiling affirms Mary’s historical legitimacy concordant with the Old Alliance. It prepares the understanding of what Mary means exactly, human born of the will of God she is the logical heir of the great heroines in the Bible, from Esther, who defended the Jews to Yael and Judith

Mary will be the great triumphant maiden and for Christians the ultimate one against the serpent, the devil.

The organ pipes, when we count them, we notice there are 33 of them. Then we have two small statues: on one side the Ascension of Mary. On the other side St. Benedict. Music introduces the triumph of God. At this precise moment we leave the earth to reach heaven.

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