Famous Churches – Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime”Our Lady of Tears” in Siracusa, Sicily


Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa, Sicily

The Legend

On 29 August 1953, a small plaster image of the Virgin Mary in the house of Angelo Iannuso and Antonina Giusto suddenly began to shed tears. The following days, on 30 and 31 August and on 1 September, tears were seen again on the Virgin’s face.

The cavernous space was designed to house the image which reportedly bestowed 300+ miraculous cures over a few months after the tears.

The Church

Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa, Sicily

Modeled on the shape of a tear drop, Syracuse‘s newest landmark building, it opened in 1994 and reaches a height of 102m.  The “Our Lady of Tears” sanctuary is one of the most peculiar monuments or churches in all of Sicily. Designed to evoke a gigantic teardrop, the structure was created by two Frenchmen, Michel Arnault and Pierre Parat, in 1994. It houses a statue of the Madonna that supposedly wept for 5 days in 1953. So-called chemical tests showed that the liquid was similar to that of human tears. Pilgrims still flock here. The contemporary conical structure dominates the skyline, rising 74m (243 ft.) with a diameter of 80m (262 ft.). The interior is amazing. You might get dizzy looking up at the vertical windows stretching skyward to the apex of the roof. As construction begun on the church, an extensive network of houses and streets from the Roman and Greek periods were discovered. Elements of these and another sanctuary to the goddess Demeter and Kore (5th-4th century BC) remain in the crypt.

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