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Sacro Cuore di Gesù Agonizzante

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Sacro Cuore di Gesù Agonizzante is a mid 20th century parish and titular church at Via Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna 70 in the Mezzocammino district. Picture of the church on Wikimedia Commons is here. There is an English Wikipedia page here (mostly based on this Wikia page).

The actual suburb is called Vitinia, the first one westwards on the Via del Mare after the Circonvallazione Meridionale.

The dedication is to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony.

History Edit

The church was designed by Ildo Avetta. Construction begain in 1953, and the church opened in 1955 after a new parish had been created in the same year.

The cardinalate title, created in 1969, is Sacro Cuore di Gesù Agonizzante a Vitinia, and the present titular is Telesphore Placidus Toppo.

Appearance Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The floor plan is basically rectangular with a shallowly curved apse, but the shape of the building is complex. Also, there is a crypt which amounts to a "lower church" and so the main entrance is elevated.

The side walls of the church are strongly zig-zag, with six triangular projections running from ground to roof on each side in the same pink brick, with small square windows inserted into the otherwise blank wall in an array shaped like a parallelogram on each of the overall twenty-four faces of this arrangement. The roof has a shallow downward curve on either side of the major axis, over these projections, and over the nave is shaped as a result like a row of six and a half lozenges (the half is the canopy over the entrance parabola). At the altar end, the roof forms an irregular hexagon stretched transversely and with the angle behind the altar smoothed away by the apse curve. The walls here are all blank brick, but the roof forms three shallow parabolas, a large one over the apse and two smaller ones on the shorter side faces of the hexagon. These three voids are filled by stained glass.

There is a detached campanile to the right of the altar end. It is an octagonal brick tower, with small square windows inserted in one vertical row on each face. The bell-chamber is of concrete, formed of eight parabolic arches.

Façade Edit

The entrance façade is dominated by a parabola, in grey marble decorated with four rows of unusually shaped windows resembling stretched animal skins arranged vertically (the four curves making up each shape are also parabolic). These windows increase in overall size and proportional length from top row to bottom, and the rows number two, three, four and four and a half (the window over the entrance in the last row is the half). The vertical curves of these windows are filled with parabolic segments in a pale brown marble.

The parabola is bounded by two walls in tufa blocks, which slope inwards from the two corners of the overall façade, creating voids either side of the parabola. The parabola has a curved floating canopy in the same grey marble, either side of its apex and so covering these voids. This forms the façade roofline.

The simple rectangular portal is fronted by an elevated patio over the door to the crypt chapel. This patio is accessed by two curved ramps making a horseshoe shape, and has a metal railing balustrade inspired by the Crown of Thorns.

Interior Edit

Unfortunately, there seem to be no online pictures of the interior of this fascinating building, Rome's "Church of the Parabola".

The main church is a single nave vaulted in concrete, with parabolic cross-ribs springing from engaged pilasters in the side walls.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated, according to the Diocese:

Weekdays 18:00 (18:30 in summer);

Sundays and Solemnities 7:30, 9:30, 11:00, 18:00 (19:00 in summer).

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

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