Shrine of Saint Blaise - Papal Cathedral
VI / VII century
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The shrine , honored of title of Papal Cathedral in 1941, is probably the most ancient temple existing today in Maratea and represents a community reference from a religious point of view , safeguarding the sacred relics of Saint Blaise martyr , patron of Maratea. The edifice size and heavy architectural lines show its antiquity; its building began between 6th and 7th century, according to local traditions, on base of earlier structures of a pagan temple devoted to Minerva.

This is obvious from the map of study : the area of naves, in fact, has the features of an ancient fortress , while the presbytery has stylistic and religious features . The appearance of church remained unchanged until 1700s , when an arcade with three arches was added at the main façade, while inside were made a wealth of decorations in late Baroque style, then were added altars and low-reliefs in marble too. In 1963 restorations eliminated all the decorative overlays accumulated in decades making resurface the simple architectural lines of naves and removing inside any embellishment.

However , in order not to lose every trace of historic and cultural development of shrine , in 1978 it was decided to position within some works, among which the low- reliefs and the marbles of altars still continue to embellish the setting. In addition to the arcade, the façade houses a bell tower in Byzantine style made up of three parts: a square base, an octagonal median part and a cylindrical dome with a cone roof. The statue of Saint Blaise of 1600s, called San Biasello and situated in a niche at the centre of the gable, and the fifteenth-century wrought- iron gate are particularly interesting. Within we focus attention in the niche that safeguards the Urn with the holy relics and Saint Blaise simulacrum.

In 1619 , after a gift on behalf of King of Naples Philip IV ,probably due to the throat healing , the niche was embellished and received the title of Royal Chapel. Other decorations wanted by Monisignor Buraglia were made in 1878, year of construction of the medallion in marble positioned above the portal of Chapel, by Domenico Oglia. The current silver bust of this saint is an accurate reproduction of the original eighteenth- century statue, made by the artist from Naples Domenico di Blasio and stolen in 1976. After this incident the new statue was commissioned to the sculptor Romano Vio, with the contribute of all citizens.

In the left nave , on the altar of Blessed Sacrament we can see a tabernacle in white marble. A fresco of 400s located in central nave portrays portraying a Madonna with Child , known as “ Madonna of pomegranate” and a low-relief in white marble of 600s displaying the Annunciation. In right nave there are two altars named for Saint Anthony of Padua and for Madonna of Wisdom. Finally in the presbytery we can find Saint Macario and Saint Lucia ‘s altars. In the upper part of right wall a worthy organ of 600s is located.