Monteleone: tra Rito & Mito

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Church of San Gilberto or Liberto

Typology: Village church
Chronology: XIV-XIX century
The Church of San Gilberto, founded on the Lateran ground in 1365, is dedicated to the hermit Gilberto from Monteleone. The structure, rebuilt in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, preserved marble decorations and inscriptions dedicated to the Eucharistic worship, due to the Confraternity of the SS. Sacramento or dei Bianchi.
The Church of San Gilberto in Monteleone di Spoleto is founded, on the Lateran ground, March 1st, 1365 by the Confraternity of the Recommended. It is dedicated to the hermit Gilberto or Liberto from Monteleone, who died around 1400. The settlement of the SS. Sacramento or dei Bianchi was founded in 1556.
The property, affected by the strong earthquake of 1703, expands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The facade, topped by a pediment, is decorated with round windows and blind niches. The tympanum on the portal contains a crucifer lamb, proof of the late Medieval structure. The interior, with three altars, has stucco, marble decorations and inscriptions dedicated to the Eucharistic worship. The eighteenth-century organ is attributed to Fedeli, master organ builders from Marche. Since the late twentieth century the church undergoes numerous maintenance works and in 1987-88 becomes the venue of  the “Biga”, then transferred to the Museum housed in the Franciscan complex.

The Church of San Gilberto in Monteleone di Spoleto is built on Lateran ground (belonging to the Church of St. John Lateran in Rome) on March 1st, 1365 by the Confraternity of the Recommended of Monteleone, associated with that better know confraternity “ad Sancta Sanctorum” in Rome. The dedication is to San Gilberto or Liberto, the hermit of Monteleone, who died in holiness around 1400 and buried in the church of Santa Maria di Equo al Ruscio. The settlement of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (also known as "dei Bianchi") is founded in 1556 under the care of the parish priest Don Pietro Calderoni Galli. Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century, both the Confraternity and the Church of San Gilberto are frequently in quarrel for the inheritance with the heirs of the testators. For several decades “I Bianchi” are based in San Francesco. In 1692 the cleric Bonifacio Reali asks to be transported and buried in the tomb of the priests by "Confrates Venerabilis Societatis Sanctissimi Sacramenti in Ecclesia Sancti Gilberti huius Terra", leaving precise instructions that the inheritance may be invested to promote a new priest in the family, with the usufruct of the assets to four grandchildren (and if they die) to be transferred in favor of six churches in the country, including also the Church of San Gilberto, as long as it does not appear a new priest of Reali family. The structure is strongly affected by the earthquake of January 1703, which brings severe damage. In 1712 Lascaris Bishop describes the church as a modest building with two doors and one altar belonging to the Confraternity or Society of Sacramento. A later quote dates back to 1611, the note of the visit of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, the future Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644, Pope from 1623), who notes: "There were in Monteleone two brotherhoods often in quarrel for reasons of priority during the processions: the Sacrament and the Mercy Confraternity". The church is renovated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and it is more impressive and has three altars. The facade is divided into two vertical sections, crossed by pilasters, and has a terminal pediment; the various sections are filled by the niches. The portal with wooden doors is also topped by a pediment containing a crucifer lamb relief, believed to be one of the few surviving fragments of late medieval structure. The church is adorned with a bell tower with two opening arches, while the interior is characterized by a pompous style, with stucco and marble decorations dedicated to the Eucharistic worship. In the same style there is the inscription in golden letters that runs along the building, whose main section, painted in the main altar, has the following inscription: "AGNUS DEI QUI TOLLIT PECCATA (MUNDI)" (This is the Lamb of God who washes away the sins of the world, from John 1, 29). The eighteenth-century organ on the choir is attributed to a member of Fedeli family from Marche, whose master organ builders are documented in the late seventeenth century and the twentieth century. In 1977 the collapse of the roof requires urgent restoration work. The structure is restored again after the earthquake of September 19th, 1979, and is the subject of new conservation work. For a short period (between 1987 and 1988) the church hosts the copy of the “Biga”, made in the occasion of "Year of the Etruscans" of 1985. The Church of San Gilberto, owned by the Diocese of Spoleto, is constantly subject to maintenance works (the renovation of the plaster and the coloring of the main façade are recent works), but rarely open to the public.