Interesting are the particulars present in Sorrento Cathedral. Many are the pieces of furniture and the finishes made by using expressions of the local craftsmanship involving the use of wood carving and wood inlay.
Rich in works of art, in relics and finds, Sorrento Cathedral is able to exert a particular charm because partly adorned with pieces of furniture and finishes made with the use of one of the most superb expressions of the local craftsmanship: that of carving and wood inlay.
Among these, a relevant place is to be given to the wooden choir made in 1938 by Antonio Terminiello, by the brothers Giuseppe and Salvatore Fiorentino, Antonio Esposito, Carlo Iaccarino and by the firm Fiorentino.
A report of the time illustrates the work as follows: “In the middle of the choir there is an archiepiscopal throne with two symmetrical wings of stalls on its sides, reserved to canons, in front of which there is a comfortable prie-dieu which is a headboard to the first row of stalls reserved to seminarists.
The throne, raised on a footrest, has the part in front of it defined by two chased columns in Corinthian style which, according to their original project, had to support the covering vault, and the back wall is divided into three panels, on which the Christ King in the middle, Our Lady of Assumption and Saint John the Baptist on the sides are inlaid”. And, then, “the two side bodies, formed each by nine stalls, are made up of a lower part, the chairs and a higher part, the so-called headboard. The chairs close the tip-up sitting with two hardwood armrests, carved in the shape of a sphinx by Giuseppe Fiorentino. The back board, divided into grooved pilasters, has 18 panels inlaid in natural wood, representing the twelve Apostles, the four Saints of Sorrento and the protector of the town, Saint Antonino”.
More recently, instead (in 1985), the Cathedral itself has been adorned with a Way of the Cross made on a drawing and inlay by Gianni Paturzo and framed by the brothers Parlato.
Short before the end of the 20th century (in 1989), moreover, Sorrento Cathedral enriched its collection of inlaid objects thanks to the making of the new drum of the main entrance which involved Giuseppe Rocco, Vincenzo Stinga, Giuseppe Centro and Mario D’Alesio.
“The inlays of the gate represent, in the twelve panels, as many episodes as them belonging to the history of the Church and Sorrento communities, in their traditions and the happenings which outlined its millenary religious and civil life, distributed in chronological order, but presented “according to a principle in common”, as explained by Antonino Cuomo in “Sorrento Cathedral” (edited by EIDOS Nicola Longobardi publisher in 1992) who says also that they go “from the consacration of the Cathedral in March 16th 1113 with the intervention of Cardinal Riccardo di Albano (while Sergio II was duke of Sorrento), to the donation of the relics of Saint William the Minor, in 1210, by Cardinal Pietro Capuano, an Apostolic Legate in Syria; from the disastrous landing of the Turks of Pialy Pasha as of June 13th 1558, who sacked, destroyed and deported, to the plague as of 1656 which, burst out in Naples, caused, in Sorrento Coast, almost two thousand victims; from the procession as of 1837 in order to implore the end of the epidemic of cholera with the miraculous Crucifix of Saint Antonino, to the Visit of Pio IX (April 29th 1849), escaped from Naples, where he stayed for one and a half year to eight months after the falling of the Roman Republic; from the arrival in Sorrento of Saint Peter, who, according to an ancient tradition, had stopped there to predicate outside the walls, in locality Sottomonte where, a Chapel called San Pietro a Mele (originally S. Petrus inventus) was built, destroyed and rebuilt in 1843 thanks to the enlargement of the street going to Sorrento, to the testimony of the sacrifice of Sorrento Martyrs, Quinto, Quintilio, Quarto, Marco and other nine youths; from the protection of the five saint protectors of Sorrento (St. Antonino, St. Renato, St. Valerio, St. Bacolo and St. Attanasio, who, according to a historical narration had intervened to save Sorrento people in a famous naval battle against the Saracens in the waters of Ischia, where they had engaged with other ships from Naples and Ischia) to the miracle of the whale from which Saint Antonino would have saved a child swallowed by it to give him to his mother); from the testimony of the Provincial Synod as of May 15th 1657 in Sorrento, promoted by Archbishop Giulio Pavesi after his pastoral visit, to the memory of the Ecumenical Vatican II Council, at which the Archdiocesi of Sorrento was present, to the opening, with Archbishop Carlo Serena and with his successor (present also its closing), Raffaele Pellecchia (maybe portrayed in the panel in one of the prelates).
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