The San Gregorio Armeno Church and convent form a complex in the street of the same name in Naples. The most famous work of art in this 16th century church is the fresco “The Embarkation, Voyage and Arrival of the Armenian Nuns with the Relics of Saint Gregory”, painted by Luca Giordano.
San Gregorio Armeno Church Naples
The address of San Gregorio Armeno Church and Convent is Via San Gregorio Armeno 44 – 80138 Naples (tel. +39 0814206385). Public transportation: Metro: Dante; Bus: C55. Opening hours of the church: 09.30 to 12.00. Monastery opening hours: 09:30 to 12:00; Saturday and Sunday: 09:30 to 12:45 and 15:00 to 17:00. Alternative names: San Biagio Maggiore Church, Santa Patrizia Church.
History and Description
After the nuns fled to Naples they founded the church and connected it to the San Pantaleone Church through a viaduct. Between 1570 and 1580 both the church (by G.B. Cavagna) and the convent (by V. della Monica) were rebuilt.
What to see
Giordano’s fresco cycle depicts the exile of the nuns who had had to flee Constantinople in the 13th century. It was these nuns who were to found the monastic complex and name it after Saint Gregory, Bishop of Armenia, whose mortal remains they had brought to Naples with them.
On the counter façade Giordano painted in 1684 three episodes narrating the origin of the monastery: “The Armenian nuns’ arrival at the Lido of Naples”, the “Translation of the body of St. Gregory” and the “Nuns’ reception by the Neapolitans”. Earlier (1679-1681), he had painted the Stories of Saint Gregory between the windows. The “Virtues” depicted on the chapel arches were also painted in 1684.
Relics and dried blood of the ones escaped from Constantinople and died in Naples are preserved in the church. Every Tuesday, the blood of Santa Patrizia becomes liquid.
Dionisio Lazzaro designed the main altar.
The choir stalls in the church are mostly made of wood and papier-mâché.
The cloisters of the complex, designed by Della Monica (1580), can be entered through a gate on Vicolo Giuseppe Maffei. In addition to a Baroque fountain decorated with masks, dolphins and seahorses, there are also two statues representing Christ and the Good Samaritan made by Matteo Bottigliero (1733).
Antique cooking utensils still hang on the walls of the convent’s old bakery.
In the Cappella della Madonna dell’Idria one can admire a painting by Paolo De Matteis. This chapel is the only unaltered remaining part of the medieval monastery.
The beautifully decorated choir stalls of the nuns (coro delle monache), from which one looks down on the nave and the altar of the church, can be accessed through the cloisters. From the windows along the oval dome of the choir, sick nuns were still able to attend mass.
A more than 6 centuries old nativity scene is also preserved here, though it is rarely exhibited.