Foundations of Poggioreale: Religious Autonomy

Archpriest Nunzio Caronna


With time, Poggioreale began to tire of the dependence on Gibellina, in particular with regard to religious services which were administered by a priest who was dependent on the Archpriest of Gibellina. The Poggiorealesi wanted to make themselves autonomous and on the date recorded by the Administrators and the Heads of families gathered in Piazza Elimo around the Cross or the Calvary which towered over the center of town, and in consequence of tire permission obtained from the Royal Tribunal, to which this population from time to time had turned, the necessary Notarial act of decentralization was stipulated. Already 137 years of dependence had passed during which time the population of Poggioreale had put up with the disadvantage of being far from the regional administrative center, which could be reached by crossing an arduous 7 kilometer trail, which was extremely inconvenient, especially in winter and at night.

In the Notarial document on record, the names of those present were listed, stipulating that they are: the Judges, the Magnifici, the Corps in charge of keeping the peace, the local justice and the administration, responding to the names of D. Paolo Apicella Capo Urbano – Magnifici D. Vincenzo Leggio, D. Filippo Vella, D. Franceso Prestera and D. Leonardo Apicella — Judges: D. Vincenzo Apicella, D. Andrea Scardino – and 511 Heads of families. The Notarial document confirms all the names. All the above-named affixed their signatures, but of the 511 Heads of families only 32 knew how to write and Sacerdote D. Francesco Aloisio signed for the illiterate, with the following declaration: “Ego Sacerdos D, Franciscus Aloisio me subscribo nomine et pro parte omnium alionnn gentium nnnotatarum scribere nescientes, et de eomm ordine confinno ut supra.

The document includes an affirmation of the Decree of the Royal Tribunal, which is, to take the responsibility corresponding as necessary for sustaining religious services, as a consequence of the religious autonomy obtained and, rather than to ask for itself the right of patronage of the Parish rendered autonomous, in order to avoid any inequalities in the future, delegated and designated the right of patronage in person of the noble Signora Stefania Morso in Naselli, Princess of Poggioreale, to which and to whose successors infinitely remain conferred the right of presenting and of naming the Archpriest pro tempore for Poggioreale, It is apparent that the enthusiasm was such that it exceeded the mere canonical significance referring to the ecclesiastical Law, the vote was symbolically significant in itself, but canonically it had no legally binding power, since this right is the exclusive and absolute right of the Ecclesiastical Authority.

[This webpage is excerpted from the book: “The History of Poggioreale, Sicily – From 1640 to 1956.” Originally written in Italian by: Canonico Dottore Francesco Aloisio in 1956. Adapted and translated by: Dr. Jeremiah P. Spence, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas. 5th Edition. International Order of Genealogists Publishing. Ireland. 2019. ISBN: 9781072403371. The book can be purchased online at: ]