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Nostra Signora di Guadalupe e San Filippo Martire in Via Aurelia

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Nostra Signora di Guadalupe e San Filippo Martire in Via Aurelia is a mid 20th century parish, titular and national church at Via Aurelia 675 in the Aurelio quarter.

The dedication is jointly to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St Philip.

Status Edit

This is the Mexican and Latin American national church. It also has the dignity of a minor basilica, and is the shrine for the city of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Do not confuse with Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario.

Note that this is meant to be the national church in Rome of all of Latin America, as well as principally of Mexico. Other Latin American nationalities are obviously not altogether happy with this, especially the Cubans and Hondurans who sincerely do not want to be mistaken for Mexicans. They may get their own national churches in due course. (Argentina has its own national church, of Santa Maria Addolorata a Piazza Buenos Aires.)

History Edit

The church was begun in 1955 to a design by Gianni Mazzocca, and completed in 1958. Its foundation stone was quarried from the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City, on which the original shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe stands. Much of the funding for the project was sourced in Mexico.

The parish was erected in 1960, and entrusted to the Legion of Christ. It was the first parish for which they had responsibility.

Pope St John Paul II established it as a minor basilica and a titular church in 1991, with Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo as the first cardinal priest. He was assassinated in 1993. The present incumbent is Juan Sandoval Iñiguez.


Layout and fabric Edit

The building stands slightly away from the busy road, leaving a little piazza in front of it. This is attractively paved in black and white cobbles laid in a fish-scale pattern.

The plan is basilical. There is a central nave with side aisles of five bays, and this is continued by a transept and a short apse with a slightly curved back wall. The aisles are continued down the sides of the transept, and are joined by an enclosed passage round the back of the apse. Aisles and ambulatory have one continuous single-pitched tiled roof, and the nave with the transept and apse are under one pitched and tiled roof with a hip at the apse end.

The exterior is in fine white ashlar stone. Unusually, the nave and aisle walls lack glazed windows.

The aisle walls have blind arcades, with shallow archivolts just beneath the roofline supported by pilasters. Walls and pilasters have horizontal stripes of different widths, and the tops of the pilasters are incut instead of having capitals or imposts.

The central nave walls are each divided into twenty rectangular panels by pilasters, and are topped by a roofine cornice. These panels are actually windows, except they are filled with thin sheets of alabaster instead of glass. The fenestration of each panel is in stone mullions. At the top is a square lozenge, and a third of the way up is a double horizontal bar. The area below the bar is subdivided into two vertical rectangular panels, each containing either a circle or lozenge for alternate panels.

The pilasters separating the panels vary, and this gives some clue to the building's structure. Most are thin and ribbed, vaguely Doric, and support the entablature. The third, ninth, fifteenth and twentieth are prouder, and break the entablature to be part of a frame supporting the central nave roof (you can see the posts below the roofline of the latter). The sixth and twelfth are blind, and flush with the panels. The seventeenth and eighteenth are double, and mark the division between nave and transept.

There is no campanile.

Façade Edit

The entrance frontage is designed with one wall surface, having pitched aisle rooflines and a slight gable to the nave roof. There is no portico or canopy.

A set of three entrance doors lead into the central nave. These are the same size, and have doorcases with relief carved decoration. These doorcases are fitted into an arcade of three arches having blind pilasters and segmental tympani. Interestingly, the archivolts enclosing these tympani have a parabolic profile to their upper edges.

There is a central window just below the gable, being quatrefoil in an octagonal frame and having an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a vertical mandorla superimposed. The four panes are alabaster again.

The fabric of the façade wall is decorative. There are stripes across it, formed of thin slabs of stone laid in a herringbone pattern which contrast with the regular ashlar blocks of the rest. Some of these herringbones border nine rows of small lozenges in dark red and green, which also run across the facade. Within the lowest such row either side of the doorways are four decorative lozenge panels, also containing inlay.


Nave Edit

The interior is rather stark, with an open truss roof in unpainted and unvarnished wood. The side aisle roofs also lack ceilings. The side walls are the same inside as they are outside, unpainted, with a striped effect to the aisle walls and shallow-arched blind arcades, and window panels in the central nave walls. The alabaster fenestration gives a diffuse light to the interior

The arcades of the nave are unusual. Instead of the square limestone pillars supporting arches, as may be expected, they support V-shaped struts which in turn hold up the upper nave walls. Each pair of struts is connected by a concrete beam, and above is a thin frieze containing an angular serpentine motif. The pillar capitals have a sui-generis design involving a rectangular recessed panel on each side.

A central rectangular portion of the nave floor in front of the altar is paved in an attractive geometric design using polychrome marbles.

Sanctuary Edit

The transept has a triumphal arch supported by a pair of piers resembling the pillars of the nave, but larger. The archivolt supports a screen wall pierced by a pair of square apertures. This screen only rises as far as the trusses of the roof above, which continues over it.

This transept is the present sanctuary, approached by a short flight of steps and with the free-standing altar just behind the triumphal arch.

The interior is dominated by an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, enshrined in a wall aedicule in the apse behind the altar. The entire apse wall is painted in blue in her honour, and is decorated with eight complex stellate flower patterns as well as five smaller simple ones. The lowest of the eight incorporates an octagonal tabernacle inserted into the wall.

Framing the apse is an arch in the same style as the triumphal arch just described.

Access Edit

The church is open 7:00 to 13:00, 16:00 to 20:00 daily.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 8:00, 19:00;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 9:30, 11:00, 12:00, 19:00.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Church website

Info.roma web-page

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