Church of St. John of the Hermits

Palermo, Italy

Church of St. John of the Hermits


San Giovanni degli Eremiti (St John of the Hermits) is an ancient former monastic church located on Via Benedettini #19 in the ancient quarter of Albergaria of the city of Palermo, region of Sicily, Italy. It is about two blocks south from the Palazzo dei Normanni, adjacent to the church of San Giorgio in Kemonia. While the interior is virtually devoid of decoration or furnishings, the red Norman-Byzantine domes, the medieval cloister ruins, and garden make this small church a symbol of ancient Palermo.

A church and a Benedictine monastery existed at the site date prior to the 6th century. Pope Gregory the Great is said to have patronized its establishment. The seventh-century Pope Agatho took orders at this monastery. It is said that the Saracen conquerors closed or razed the monastery, perhaps converting the church to a mosque. After the Norman conquest, circa 1136, the site was restored by Roger II of Sicily to Benedictine Benedictine monks of Saint William of Vercelli . The church was dedicated to St John the Evangelist.

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