Resurrezione di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo a Giardinetti is a later 20th century parish church with a postal address at Via degli Orafi 120 in the suburb of Giardinetti, which is in the Torrenova zone. (The edifice is actually located round the corner in Via Turino di Sano.) The locality is just south-east of the junction between the Via Casilina and the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Orientale). A picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons is here.
The dedication is to the Resurrection of Christ.
The parish was set up in 1963, and the church completed structurally in the same year. The consecration was in 1964. The architect was Giuseppe Rinaldi.
The project for a parish complex was actually mooted in 1961, and the first plans involved a large aula or meeting hall and a separate church building on the plan of a Latin cross. However, in the course of work it was decided to have the aula as the church and not to bother with the intended church edifice at all.
The parish was initially administered by diocesan clergy of Rome, but in 1973 these were replaced by secular clergy from the diocese of Novara. The impetus for this was the raising to the cardinalate of Ugo Poletti, former bishop of that city.
The church was re-ordered in 1983. A block was added at the back, including a ferial chapel on a transverse axis, and a new entrance suite to the front and near left hand side.
The connection with the diocese of Novara was terminated in 2014, and the parish is now back with the diocesan clergy of Rome.
The ground plan is of an irregular hexagon, with symmetry only about the major axis. The front and back sides are short, and the longest sides are the far diagonals. The right hand far diagonal parallels the street, set back slightly.
The back of the church is occupied by the ferial chapel, with a nave on a transverse rectangular plan and a heptagonal (seven-sided) sanctuary.
The original ancillary facilities occupy two wings in the form of an L, with the shorter sacristy wing abutting the far left hand diagonal of the church. Tucked into the far angle between church and this wing is a tower campanile.
The near left hand side of the church and its frontage is occupied by an entrance block. This is outlined on the plan by a continuation of the line of the near right hand side wall, turning at an angle of sixty degrees where it meets the major axis and then running back parallel to the near left hand side wall to meet the sacristy wing just mentioned. The main entrance of the church is at the near end of the left hand line, adjacent to the angle. A small apsidal chapel is attached to the right of this entrance.
This entrance block is a later addition, and older photographs show the church with an entrance frontage which is now mostly hidden. The apsidal chapel mentioned was subsequently added recently.
The only sides of the church not now hidden by ancillary structures are the near and far diagonal sides on the right. These show the wall fabric, which is in large yellowish-grey tufo stone ashlar blocks. The actual walls are low. The roof has slightly overhanging eaves over a deep white fascia, and two wide support piers are visible embedded in the near right hand diagonal wall.
The far right hand side wall, paralleling the street, has two rows of little square windows, well spaced apart and each with a little protruding sill. The windows in the upper row are over the spaces between the windows in the lower row. The far end of the wall, near the far angle, is occupied by a large glass screen window running from ground to the roof fascia and this helps to light the sanctuary.
The roof dominates the design. It is in concrete, covered with a ridged red composition, and occupies over half the total height of the church. There are five steep main pitches from the four diagonal sides and the back, but the frontage has a low gable instead of springing its own pitch. Instead, a sixth narrow triangular pitch runs from the tip of the gable back to a vertical equilateral triangular skylight which lights the altar and the sides of which are incorporated into the far diagonal pitches.
Ferial chapel Edit
The ferial chapel is structurally separate, and was added to the back of the church. It is on a transverse axis, and has its own façade set back from the far right hand angle of the church.
The walls are in square tufo blocks, with thin horizontal courses of red tiles forming stripes (this is an ancient building technique called opus vittatum). The side walls are brought forward to support a single-pitched tiled entrance canopy. The gabled roof is in red tiles, and protrudes slightly at the gable over a white fascia.
The sanctuary of the chapel is an interesting shape, being a low heptagonal tower with six equal sides and a seventh longer one where the nave abuts. The red tiled roof is in seven triangular pitches with a substantial overhang. Each of the narrower walls has a white-framed Gothic (!) window with a white frame, but the wall over the nave roof has a quatrefoil window.
The narthex and campanile is in grey stone blocks with horizontal stripes in red mortar and with corners and roof eaves in white.
The tower campanile is in stark contrast to the above. It consists of two thin, slightly tapering concrete obelisks joined at the top by a vertical concrete slab with an angled top. The three bells are hung, one beneath the other, from short concrete struts joining the vertical elements.
Entrance ambience Edit
The church does not face the street, but is behind a low wall in tufo blocks which is topped by a row of long spike railings -these are not connected. Charmingly, the railings are individually painted in different colours.
The entrance piazza is paved in pale puce brick, and focuses on a short stone column bearing a statue of St Michael the Archangel. The strip of land between the church proper and the street has been planted with a row of fastigate cypresses, which have done well.
As already mentioned, the church does not give itself much of a civic profile. However, the original intention was that the dedicated church building would be at the south end of the Via degli Orafi, with a monumental façade facing down the length of that street. When it was decided not to build the proposed church but to make do with the exhibition hall or aula instead as a place of worship, the site for the "real" church became the parish car park and the whole ambience became rather dithery.
Main entrance Edit
The added entrance annexe is flat-roofed, with the roof the same height as the roofline of the church.
The church cannot be said to have a façade. The near right hand side wall is continued on the same line by an add-on wall in the same style as the ferial chapel -stone blocks with tile stripes. This has a deep white fascia. It stops before the near sixty-degree angle mentioned in the layout description above, to allow for an open triangular loggia which is entered by a shallow stepped ramp. The actual entrance is in the short wall occupying the far side of this triangular space.
The roof is supported on the left side of the sixty-degree angle by a short length of wall. This stops to allow for a row of square concrete columns supporting the roof of a wide covered passage leading to side entrances and the sacristy wing.
The fascia over the portal into the triangular lobby now bears a simple dedicatory epigraph -D.O.M. et resurrectioni D.N.J.C. The actual roof of the lobby is not flat, but is a hollow tetrahedron in light grey.
The gable of the actual church frontage is occupied by a large window.
The little apsidal chapel to the right of the entrance portal has small white-framed Gothic (pointed) windows.
The interior is rather dark owing to a paucity of natural light, but this is set off by the underside of the roof which is mostly white. However, the pitch over the altar has been re-painted in yellow. The same colour is used for the roof fascia, while the visible walls are in the same tufo stone as the outside.
The near left hand side opens in a wide portal into the covered passage just mentioned, and the roof here is supported by a pair of shuttered concrete columns.
The floor is paved in white, except for a rectangular framework device in black on the major axis.
The sanctuary is raised on three steps, and is paved in red brick. The altar is in the style of an ancient limestone sarcophagus raised on two blocks, with the frontage having two carved herringbone devices flanking the Chi-rho symbol (archaeologists might immediately point out that the herringbones would be better strigillate).
To the right of the sanctuary steps is the baptismal font, a well-thought out item comprising two shallow stone basins which are one beneath the other. The upper one is lined with gold mosaic and has a pouring lip, whereas the lower one is lined with silver mosaic.
The tabernacle is in a pale grey free-standing column to the right of the altar. The door has an interesting semi-abstract polychrome artwork alluding to The Blood of the Cross.
Altarpiece icon Edit
The parish is rightly proud of the altarpiece iconography by Antonio Gioia Di Nola. This is one of the most interesting modern religious artworks in any church in Rome. The work is in eight panels. The central four were executed in 1988, but the side panels of two each were done in 1993 in an noticeably different style.
The central composition is very much in a derivative Byzantine style, which is becoming familiar in modern Roman churches if only because it really does work for devotional purposes. The resurrected Christ is shown between two mountains, that of Ararat on the left (with the Ark of Noah and the dove with the olive branch), and that of Sinai to the right (with the Burning Bush and the Tabernacle). Above the two mountains, separate panels depict the Pelican of Piety to the left, and the Phoenix to the right.
The side panels are in a noticeably more advanced mediaeval style, reaching into the 12th century. The left hand panel depicts Our Lady with St John the Evangelist, while the right hand one shows the Empty Tomb with a Young Man Dressed in White (traditionally depicted as an angel with wings, but not so here) demonstrating the Resurrection to St Mary Magdalen holding her container of unguent.
A round icon of The Trinity was installed on the roof pitch above the altar in 2013. This was to celebrate the half-century of the parish's foundation. The work is based on the famous icon by Rublev.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, July 2018):
Weekdays 8:00 (8:30 Thursdays), 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 18:30.
Times may change in high summer.