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The church known as "La Martorana"
Located in the historic center of Palermo on Piazza Bellini, it was built in 1143 following the orders of George of Antioch, Grand Admiral of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies under Roger II. It was later merged with the nearby Benedictine convent founded by Goffredo and Eloisa Martorana, hence the alternative name of the church, known as the “Martorana”.
It is the most Byzantine monument in Palermo although it has clear Islamic elements.
The church has a cross-in-a-square ground plan, oriented with the apse to the east and the facade to the west because people were to pray toward the east, following the typical ritual of Byzantine churches. The choir is supported by columns from earlier Norman buildings, and the upper part of the walls and the dome are entirely covered with Byzantine mosaics, the oldest in Sicily and some of the most important in the world.
The Church belongs to the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi, a Catholic diocese of the Greek-Byzantine rite of the Byzantine Church in Sicily, and you can often attend liturgical celebrations in Albanian or ancient Greek.
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