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San Gelasio I Papa

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San Gelasio I Papa is a late 20th century parish church at Via Fermo Corni 1, off Via Egidio Galbani in the suburb of Rebbibia in the Ponte Mammolo quarter. This is near the junction of that street with Via Attilio Benigni, but the church itself is not easy to find.

The dedication is to Pope St Gelasius I. He was born at Rome, but his parents were from Africa. He was pope from 492 to 496, and was later venerated as one of the principal establishers of the Church's canon law.

History Edit

The parish was established in 1972 by splitting the parish of Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Ponte Mammolo. Initially it had a little shoe-box of a church at Piazza Lino Ferriani just west of the Rebbibia prison, and also established a subsidiary chapel called Padre Nostro at Via del Casal dei Pazzi 222. The latter was in an apartment block.

The project for a new church was mooted in 1986, and it was completed in 1992 as part of a social centre. The architect was Igino Pineschi, assisted by Paolo Savio.

In 2003 the parish was put into the care of the Famiglia Ecclesiale di Vita Consecrata Missione Chiesa-Mondo, a new religious movement from Catania. This was founded in 1976, and has its Roman headquarters here.

The old church has been kept open (at least for the time being) as the Chiesetta di Rebbibia, and functions as a subsidiary Mass centre. The chapel of Padre Nostro has been closed down as it was near to the new church, although the Diocese still has it on its website.

Exterior Edit

Layout Edit

This church lacks a civic presence. From the street, one sees an ordinary two-storey modernist building in concrete and pink brick, with two lateral wings and an elevated first-storey section between the two. One has to go under the latter and enter a courtyard to find the church entrance straight ahead.

The church proper is on a wide rectangular plan, and has six bays. The first three bays extend to the right to form a ferial chapel, and the third and fourth bays extend to the left to house the confessionals. Flanking the altar are two little apses, a circular one to the right which is the baptistery and a rectangular one to the left which is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

The baptistery is actually a free-standing structure, as it is surrounded by a wide window strip forming three sides of a rectangle.

Fabric Edit

The fabric is in reinforced concrete, with infill in high-quality pink brick.

The dominating feature is the roof. This is actually tented, for it begins flat at either side and then has an up-curved double pitch meeting at a ridge-line along the major axis. The bays are separated in the roof by double slab beams, which are very deep and follow the curve. There are seven sets of these pairs of double beams, and although they are at the same level at the sides they rise higher in steps from either end of the church where they meet at the ridge-line. The apices are lowest at the entrance and altar end, slightly higher for the second and sixth sets of beams and higher again for the middle three. The upswept inner ends of these pairs of double beams do not actually touch at the major axis, but each pair is separated at the apex by a short length of crenellation.

The Blessed Sacrament chapel has its own little roof at a slightly lower level, with a large circular skylight.

Façade Edit

The façade faces onto a square courtyard, enclosed by the ancillary buildings of the complex. The side wings of the latter abut the frontage of the church, so that the façade does not reveal its full width.

These side wings support canopies, which lead to two square side entrance portals at the ends of the façade (the actual entrances are hidden within these. In between each of these and the main portal is a length of brick wall containing a vertical window strip flanked by a pair of square pilasters supporting nothing. The main portal is also open, the actual door being within.

Above the portal and the walls is a very deep white concrete cornice, and over this is a window strip running the full width of the façade. Above this in turn the façade is again white concrete right up to the edges of the first pair of roof beams. This zone contains a narrow vertical rectangular window.

Interior Edit

The interior is dominated by the concrete roof, which displays its very deep curved slab beams. The roofing in between these is in longitudinal concrete slabs. Along the major axis in between the beams are skylight strips.

The walls are in the same pink brick and smooth concrete as the outside, including the far sanctuary wall behind the altar which is mostly in brick. A wide window strip separates this from the Blessed Sacrament chapel to the left, and this as well as the wide fenestration round the baptistery to the right is in clear glass. The fenestration is geometric, symbolising down-flowing rain. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel's circular skylight is provided with a cylindrical floating sleeve.

Liturgy Edit

Church Edit

The following is from the parish website (August 2016), which does not give the up-to-date winter times. Hence, these need to be checked for winter 2016 and later.

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 8:30 (not July and August), 18:30 (not Mondays in winter);

Sundays and Solemnities 10:00, 11:30, 18:30 (July and August 11:00, 18:30).

Subsidiary Mass centre Edit

The parish has one subsidiary Mass centre:

Chiesetta di Rebbibia

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page (a stub)

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

Congregation's website

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