Cathedral of Sant’Eusebio
Diocesi di Vercelli ( sec. XII; XVI; XIX )
Piazza Sant'Eusebio, Vercelli
Vercelli’s cathedral of Sant’Eusebio was rebuilt in 1570 by Cardinal Guido Ferrero on the pre-existing Early Christian basilica. The body of Saint Eusebius, to whom it is dedicated, was found in 1581 and is still preserved in the cathedral today. The apse of the current building was built in the 16th century, the nave, aisles and transept in the 18th century, and the dome in the 19th. The mid-20th century marked the start of a series of restoration projects, which culminated in the important work commenced in 2009 under Archbishop Enrico Masseroni and completed in 2012. Externally, the building stands out for its grandeur. The 18th-century façade (by Benedetto Alfieri) is surmounted by giant statues of the Twelve Apostles and Christ the Redeemer, with their respective attributes (19th century). The church has a Latin cross plan with a nave and two aisles, divided into five bays, covered with dome vaults and supported by massive piers surmounted by imitation marble columns. The apse is crowned by a huge dome and houses a fine wooden choir and an even more remarkable Romanesque crucifix (10th century) made from wood covered with silver sheet, embossed on the front. The cathedral has many chapels and secondary altars, including the chapel of the Blessed Amadeus IX of Savoy and the Madonna dello Schiaffo (“Madonna of the Slap”) chapel. The only part of the old cathedral to have survived is the imposing Romanesque campanile, built in the 12th century. The base of the square tower is made from old ashlars and stone slabs, while it is divided horizontally into four bands with rows of small intertwining arches, and into three vertical parts by little half columns. The most recent part of the campanile is characterized by a single bell chamber surrounded by three round arches on each side.
Saint Eusebius, patron of the city of Vercelli and founder of the oldest diocese in Piedmont, was Bishop of Vercelli from AD 345. Originally from Sardinia, he was delegated by Pope Julius I, in Vercelli itself, to lead the community of Christian worshippers. Eusebius was almost certainly the first Bishop of Vercelli, for there are no certain records of any predecessors, despite the fact that the area was already considered important from a devotional point of view. Indeed, Saint Theonestus had died in Vercelli shortly before the arrival of Eusebius. He dedicated himself to the evangelization of Western Cisalpine Gaul with enormous zeal, drawing on the Vercelli clergy for the foundation of new Christian centres: Novara, Ivrea, Tortona. This widespread Christianization mission makes Eusebius a sort of precursor of what Saint Ambrose would subsequently achieve in 374, albeit on an even wider geographic scale. Vercelli Cathedral was raised on the extant building erected by Saint Eusebius. Inside, the many altars and chapels are direct testimony of the city’s intense religious fervour. Commencing in the right aisle, we can see the Altar of the Relics, open to worshippers on saints’ feast days. The second chapel is dedicated to Saint Honoratus of Vercelli, while the third is dedicated to Saint John of Nepomuk. Next, we can see the large chapel of the Blessed Amadeus IX and the chapel of the Crucifix, characterized by a Baroque altar dedicated to the Adoration of the Cross and the urn of the Blessed Alfonsa Clerici, placed there following her canonization in 2010. The chapel of Saint Ambrose, formerly dedicated to Saint Eusebius, opens off the end of the nave. Together with the Madonna dello Schiaffo chapel, it is the oldest part of the interior of the cathedral and houses the saint’s remains. It is followed by the chapel dedicated to Saint Philip Neri, the chapel of Saints Donatus and William, the chapel of Saints Helena and Emilianus, and the chapel of the Baptismal Font.
Feriali: 07.30-12.00 e 15.00-18.00.
Festivi: 08.00-13.00 e 15.00 -18.30.
The building may be visited at the times indicated unless a religious function is in progress
Feriali: ore 7.30.
Sabato: ore 7.30 e 18.30.
Domenica: ore 8.30, 10.30, 12.00, 16.30 (Vespri) e 17.30.
- Cattedrale di Vercelli
- type of building
- Piazza Sant'Eusebio, Vercelli
- 0161 252930
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