Church of St Andrew the Apostle (Tortolì)

Via Amsicora 3 (Tortolì)

The Church of St Andrew the Apostle is the main place of Catholic worship of Tortoli, Ogliastra, the former Cathedral of the Diocese of Ogliastra. Is located in the historic centre of the town, in Cathedral Square, and is the parish seat.


The existence of a place of worship dedicated to the Apostle Andrew, on the site of the present Church, dates back at least to the 14th century; in a letter, of 1386, addressed by King Peter IV of Aragon the monk Petro de Armentera del monastero di San Saturnino in Cagliari, is mentioned in a Prebend parish of Saint Andrew in Tortoli. In the 17th century the Church was visited by a Commission sent by the Archbishop of Cagliari Francisco Desquivel, in order to gather information on the cult in honor of san Giorgio di Suelli, depicted in the retablo of the main altar of the temple. In 1784, the Archbishop Filippo Melano, called the parish of Tortolì inadequate, judging it "deep, dank, low and narrow". This original church, there are few environments, embedded in the current factory. In the last decades of the 18th century, with a view to the reconstitution of the Diocese of Ogliastra (heir of the Diocese of Suelli, suppressed in the 15th century) and the possibility to Tortolì to host the bishopric, began the construction of the new Church, completed around 1790. The Church hosted the cathedra of Bishops of Ogliastra from 1824 until 1927, when the seat was moved to Lanusei, in the Cathedral of Saint Mary Magdalene.


The Church of Saint Andrew is in classical style. It has a façade divided by pilasters and cornices, in which three portals and three rectangular Windows layout. Beyond the upper frame, the statement culminates in double curved pediment inflection. On the left is the Bell Tower, which rises on a crenellated Tower, oldest and probably originally used as a watchtower. The Interior, with a Latin cross plan, is divided into three naves with transept and octagonal dome at the intersection of the arms. The aisles, nearly of the same width, are divided by pillars, supporting arches, and turn into fights.
In the crossing with the transept, underneath the dome, is the presbytery elevated above the floor of the Chamber and surrounded by a marble balustrade, which houses the sumptuous high altar, in polychrome marble work of sculptor Giovanni Battista Franco, made around 1809. The Central niche of the altar houses a wooden statue of the Patron Saint, from the 18th century and restored in 1996. To the right of the altar, on the pier, you see a stucco frieze with the coat of arms of Archbishop Seraphim Carchero, first bishop of Ogliastra (from 1824 to 1834). Behind the altar is a wooden choir, walnut, dating back to the early 19th century. Here was used as the pipe organ company, Simon Tanner of Modena, built in 1883, moved to the right aisle after the restoration, in 1997.
Under the presbytery is the crypt, where buried some of the Bishops of Ogliastra having seat in Tortolì: Giorgio Manurrita, Michele Todde, Giuseppe Paderi, Emanuele Virgilio Depau, Savior. The remains of the latter have been placed in 2010 in a sarcophagus in the right aisle of the Church.
In the left arm of the transept is the chapel of the Rosary, made out of an environment of the original church. Here, during the restoration of 1995, inside a walled 17th-century octagonal window, was found the statue depicting Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, in gilded wood, with a real skull placed at his feet. The baptistery Chapel, built at the base of the Tower, is the oldest of the Church, probably dating back to the 16th century. They are accessed through a pointed arch and has a vault with ribs made of Tuff. Houses the baptismal font, which consists of an 18th-century marble bathtub, surmounted by a carved wooden kiosk.


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