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San Clemente a Monte Sacro

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San Clemente a Monte Sacro is a mid and late 20th century parish church with a postal address at Via Val Sillaro 22, north of the Nomentana train station in the Monte Sacro quarter. The main entrance is on Via Val Santerno. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

The patron saint is Clement of Rome.


The parish was erected in 1956, and the permanent church begun in the following year to a design by Ugo Luccichienti. Unfortunately, work stalled in 1959 after the crypt was completed and the parish had to use this as a church for thirty-six years.

However, the main building was completed to an innovative design by Duccio Straderini in 1995. The result is spectacular, and well worth visiting.


Layout Edit

The plan of the actual church is that of an ellipse with its major axis longitudinal. This is enclosed in a rectangle, which does not touch the ellipse at any point and which is the footprint for the entrance loggia and ancillary accommodation. The ellipse is not centrally placed, but is slightly set back within the rectangle towards the altar end.

The near half of the rectangle is occupied by an enormous canopy, with a pair of side entrances at its far side ends. The left hand back corner is occupied by the ferial chapel, and the right hand one by the sacristy.

The church has an underground crypt.

Fabric Edit

The fabric is in reinforced concrete. The external wall of the ellipse, under the canopy, is faced in large rectangular honey-coloured travertine limestone tiles arranged in a regular grid, and has a flat roof. This has a skylight strip along the major axis.

The rectangular structure enclosing the ellipse amounts to an enormous flat concrete slab canopy which is slightly higher than the ellipse, and which terminates at the ellipse. Thus a gap is left between the loggia roof and the main body of the church, through which daylight shows. The same gap is occupied by a window strip in the far half of the edifice.

There is a longitudinal concrete slab pier supporting the loggia at each front corner, and three square piers down each side. The loggia comes to an end at two vertical strip windows above side entrances either side of the ellipse, but the rectangular plan continues with blank concrete walls for the rest of the side elevations and around the back of the altar.

Above the altar, rising above the roofline, is a concrete tower in the shape of half a hollow cylinder with the incurve facing the entrance. This has a vertical split down its centre, and curves to form a conch near the top. The actual summit is flat, formed by horizontal floating slabs.

The campanile is situated in the loggia to the right of the entrance, rising as a single transverse concrete slab through a rectangular hole in the loggia roof and terminating in a floating horizontal slab from which the bell hangs.

Façade Edit

The entrance is approached by a short flight of stairs, reminding you of the existence of a crypt.

The slab roof of the loggia is supported by four light grey concrete columns adjacent to the ellipse walls, a transverse pair of the same each side of the entrance and another longitudinal pair midway between the entrance and sides.

The arched entrance, in light grey, is recessed within a rectangular portal. The latter has an epigraph above it, in dark brown on a curved pinewood plank set into the fabric. It reads: Gesù Cristo Unico Salvatore del Mondo, Ieri Oggi e Sempre ("Jesus Christ the only Saviour of the world, yesterday today and always"). The arch encloses a tympanum with a fresco copy of The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt.


The undecorated walls are of vertical concrete slabs, and have icons of the Apostles hanging from them.

Natural lighting is by a strip skylight running along the flat white ceiling on the major axis of the ellipse. This is the major source of natural light in the church The two spaces between the ellipse and rectangle either side of the altar are occupied by the ferial chapel to the left, and the sacristy to the right. Each of these has a pair of doorways in the internal walls between them and the main area. Above these doorways are four stained glass windows in blue, depicting Eucharistic symbols.

The otherwise blank white screen wall behind the altar, the base of the tower mentioned above, has a crucifix accompanied by icons of Our Lady and St John in the Byzantine style.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated, according to the Diocese:

Weekdays 8:00, 9:00 (not August), 18:00 (19:00 in summer);

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 18:00 (19:00 summer).

External linksEdit

(There seems to be no parish website.)

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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