More than 500 years after the Jews were expelled from Sicily by the Spanish Inquisition, a tiny Jewish community will open its first synagogue today (January 12, 2017) in the island's capital city of Palermo, according to the Religion News website.
At an official ceremony today, the Catholic Archdiocese of Palermo will transfer to the Jewish community a chapel, the Oratory of Santa Maria al Sabato, which was built above the ruins of the Great Synagogue that once stood in the center of Palermo.
The Sicilian Institute of Jewish Studies and a Jerusalem-based organization, Shavei Israel, requested the transfer. It will formally take place on the anniversary of the decree that demanded the expulsion of Jews from Sicily during the Spanish Inquisition: January 12, 1493.
At that time, Sicily was ruled directly by the kings of an overreligious Roman Catholic Spain via governors and viceroys.