The ecclesiastical heritage shows the importance of religion in the organisation of village life in thèse valleys. Religious devotion is still very present in the villages. There is proof of this in the presence of two very symbolic statues situated in the local countryside : « Notre-dame-des-neiges » (our lady of the snows) in the Aïtone forest and « le Christ-Roi » (the Christ King) at the Verghio Pass.
Must see Saint-Martin’s Parish church, at the heart of the village and wooden procession statue of Saint Anthony of Padua, which was classified in 1984.
Saint-Martin’s Parish Church
Constructed during the first half of the 16th century near the homes and far from Saint Cyprien‘s Parish Church, St. Martin’s Church was, by 1589, in a poor state and too small to hold the 35 households which made up the village at the time, as was pointed out once again by the apostolic Monseigneur Mascardi in his report. Erected as Parish Church at the turn of the 17th century, it has been repaired and restored many times over the centuries. Three major construction works have contributed to its present appearance: firstly between 1702 and 1708, it was completed with two lateral chapels founded by the Confraternity of the Penitents of the Rosary. Secondly, it was extended in 1833 in compliance with the plans of the architect Albertini. It was again restructured in 1882 according to the plans and direction of the local surveyor Franchi.
The painted décor, created by the artist Jean-Noël Coppolani in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century, has now disappeared. A portrayal of the Last Supper which adorns the triumphal arch was completed in the second quarter of the 20th century by the Russian painter Jean Choupik. The neoclassical décor and the medallions on the vault, artwork of the Russian painter Nicolas Ivanoff, were completely renovated in 1971 by the painter Raymond Rifflard. The bell tower was built between 1847 and 1856, and the church bells were made in 1889 by the bell-founder, Ferdinand Farnier.
It is an oblong structure with a flat chevet formed by a central nave featuring a barrel-vaulted ceiling with semi-dome vaults in the side chapels. The chancel also has a barrel-vaulted ceiling. There is a triumphal arch decorated by a painted scene of the Last Supper. It has a bell tower with a bell chamber topped by a capstone. It contains some remarkable furniture : Two silver embossed chalices, 17th century silverware, an 18th century altar painting of the Virgin Mary with Jesus on her knee adorns the altarpiece of the Rosary chapel, and a procession statue of Saint Anthony of Padua, classified world heritage.
This medieval building, from the late 16th century, was situated near the old cemetery. It was the Parish Church until the beginning of the 17th Century but after the Eminent Monseigneur Mascardi commented on its advanced state of ruin at the time, the status of Parish Church was transferred to the current Saint-Martin’s Church in the heart of the village. Despite restoration work between 1724 and 1887 the building was finally abandoned and destroyed. However, a new chapel was erected in the second half of the 20th century near to the site of the original church.
It can be seen at the beginning of the Spelunca path, leaving Evisa.
Saint Antonius of Padua (1195-1231) with the infant Jesus
Polychrome wooden procession statue, late 17th century. Classified artefact. The saint is shown turning his head towards the infant Jesus who is sitting on his right arm. Clothed in the Franciscan habit tied at the waist with a cord belt with three knots, he has an open book at his feet, he used to hold a lily in his left hand (this has now disappeared). Devotion to Saint Antonius of Padua, canonized two years after his death in 1233, was widely spread throughout the island by the Franciscan order of which he was part.