It is said that Our Saviour’s Chapel was built by order of Bishop Peter of Salerno only after the Cathedral was completed. It was then consecrated by him to St Salvatore and St Benedict. The chapel was, from the offset, used for private celebrations by the Bishop of Anagni. Furthermore, it was initially connected to the church by means of a staircase accessible from the presbytery. This is evident if you look at the infill on the medieval wall in front of the current entrance.
Our Saviour’s Chapel underwent several changes, probably due to the works commissioned by Bishops Albert and Pandolfo in the course of the 13th century. These included the elevation of the entire floor, the infill of the opening connecting the cathedral’s presbytery to the chapel and the addition of a cross-vault ceiling and central ogival arch. The arch rests on two half-pillars and the same number of engaged columns with capitals decorated by a hook-like motif which conveys it a unique Cistercian feel. The remains of a starred sky and circular patterns are still visible on the vaults.
On the overhanging apsidiole is a depiction of the Christ on a throne. To his side are St Magno and St Secondina.
The altar dates back to when Peter of Salerno was bishop and is crafted out of repurposed marble, perhaps originally used in the abbatial complex of Villamagna.
There are a number of wooden objects and reliquary icons in the room which are of great artistic and historical importance:
the Episcopal chair dates back to the 13th century and was created by the hands of expert local craftsmen, influenced by Islamic art. Its dossal has gone missing and the chair has since been modified in great part, however the engravings and inlays are all original.
the statue of St Antonio Abate is dated 15th century and was carved out of a single piece of wood. It originally stood in the now deconsecrated church of St Antonio Abate in Anagni, which has since become the Auditorium on Via Vittorio Emanuele II.
the wooden crucifix, from the early 15th century, is notable for its realism. Details such as skin and veins are remarkable. A mechanism placed inside the statue’s head allowed for the tongue to be poked out, further emphasising the pathos of the sculpture.
the icon representing the Virgin and the presbyter Raynaldo was painted in 1325 by Lello de Urbe, a notable painter of the Cavallini school, active in Rome and Naples. This is an outstanding reliquary icon which preserves the remains of St Thomas Aquinas, St Thomas Becket and St Peter of Salerno. These are preserved inside the icon in line with the Virgin’s medallion. This remarkable item was donated to the cathedral by Raynaldo himself, the canon depicted at the Virgin’s feet.
the icon portraying the Madonna with Child was painted in 1316 and is in a poor state of preservation due to improvident restoration carried out in the 1960s. This too is a reliquary containing the remains of the True Cross and was a donation by one of the canons of the Cathedral, from just before the time of Reynaldo.
Our Saviour’s Triptych, which originally belonged to the Church of St Andrew in Anagni, depicts Christ the Judge at the centre, with the Virgin on the left and St Andrew the Apostle on the right together with the presbyter Gregorio di Francesco. The triptych is painted on the reverse too, bearing the portraits of St Magno and St Secondina on the sides and a large cross at the centre. The inscription makes reference to the relics of the Cross and to the garments of Christ and of several saints preserved inside the triptych. This extraordinary work of art has been in the Cathedral since 2017 for security reasons and also to ensure it can be seen and appreciated more widely. We are extremely proud that over the past few years the Cathedral has also been fulfilling the role of sanctuary for works of art at risk.
Now, to visit the church, please trace your steps back and walk down the staircase which you will see behind the fountain just across from the Ancient Treasure room. Once in the church, you will follow a cordoned route which will guide you through the different areas. We would like to take the opportunity to remind you that you will be entering a place of worship and invite you to please respect the request for silence.