Church of Our Lady of Tears
Top Sites to See in Syracuse

Church of Madonna della Lacrime (Our Lady of Tears) commemorates the miracle of Weeping Madonna; thanks to modern  architecture and conical shape it dominates the landscape of Syracuse....

       The church of Madonna della Lacrime was erected as a shrine to commemorate the miracle of Weeping Madonna. It is believed that on August 29, 1953 the sight of Antonina Iannuso (blind after an attack of epilepsy) was miraculously restored. The moment she was able to see again, she saw the image of Madonna that she and her husband Angelo received as the wedding gift – all in tears. The rest is history witnessed by large crowds of faithful…

Church of Madonna della Lacrime dominates the landscape of Syracuse

Main part of the Sanctuary is located below the ground level

Madonna della Lacrime

Chapel of St. Conrad

         In 1957 the project of Sanctuary presented by two French architects – M. Andrault and P. Parat was accepted by the church’s authority. But the construction works started nine years later due to the controversy caused by the modern architectural shape of the church. Indeed, the conical structure sharply piercing the sky dominates the landscape of the otherwise medieval city with deep ancient imprints. 

Seemingly this shape symbolizes an eternal effort of humans of “Reaching to God” (although in my humble opinion, the World we are living-in unfortunately seems to be farther than ever from what we generally consider as “Godly”). 

At the ground level the impressive concrete structure has the outer diameter of 262 feet (80 meters) and height of 243 feet (74 m). On top of the concrete structure there is a 20 feet (7 meters) tall steel composition representing the “radiating” sun with the statue of Madonna inside.

The church includes the underground crypt (lower church) and the upper level shrine. The large open space holds the simple central altar and very modest lateral chapels with beautiful Byzantine-style icons of saints but also some modern-style religious paintings. At the floor level there are remains of ancient structures from Greek and Roman era discovered during the construction of the church. In the way they show the continuity of time and life… 

    At the center of the Shrine Madonna della Lacrime there is a reliquary designed by Biagio Poidimani (Professor at the Academy of Arts in Rome). On its octagonal base are three distinct levels containing “relics” related to the miraculous event. The central part of the reliquary is closely related to the history of first Christians in Syracuse. It includes statues of saints (St. Lucy - patroness of Syracuse, St. Marciano – first bishop of Syracuse, St. Paul (he stayed few days in Syracuse on his way to Rome) and St. Peter (at the time bishop of Antioch, who nominated bishop Marciano as the head of Cristian community in Syracuse).

Underground floor: Visible remains of structures from the times of of ancient Greece and Roman Empire

Fragments of a temple from the ancient world were unearthed during works on the new, this time Christian church

One of side-chapels shows striking modernity (in contrast with millennia old remnants of ancient civilizations as seen below)  

In side chapels you will find modern religious art....

  as well as icons in an old Byzantine style

The Latin inscription on the reliquary expresses the words:

 O Virgin of the Tears, soften the hardness of our hearts with tears of repentance…”.

        I guess regardless of our personal religious believes, we can all sign for this to happen, given the state of the contemporary world….

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