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San Giovanni Battista de Rossi

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San Giovanni Battista de Rossi

English name: St Giovanni Battista de Rossi
Dedication: St Giovanni Battista Rossi
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Type: Titular church
Clergy: Diocesan
Titular church Cardinal Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R.
Consecrated: 1965
Architect(s): Tullio Rossi
Contact data
Address: Via Cesare Baronio 127
00179 Roma
Phone: 06 78 87 801
Fax: 06-78.87.875

San Giovanni Battista de Rossi is a modern parish and titular church dedicated to the priest St Giovanni Battista Rossi (1698-1764). It is at Via Cesare Baronio 127, just off the Via Latina in the Appio-Latino district. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons. [1]


St Giovanni Battista (John Baptist) de Rossi was from Genoa, and studied and worked in Rome before becoming a priest there and a canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin . He worked tirelessly for homeless women, the sick, prisoners and workers, and was a very popular confessor, being called a second Philip Neri. After he had been canonised in 1881, it was only a matter of time before a church was dedicated to him in Rome.

The parish bearing his name was established by Pope Pius XII in 1940. Because of the war, construction of the church was delayed, and it was not until 22 May 1965 that it could be consecrated. The architect was Tullio Rossi, who designed it in his easily recognizable derivative neo-Romanesque style.

Pope Paul VI gave it a cardinalitial title on 30 April 1969, with John Joseph Cardinal Carberry as the first titular. The second, and present, titular is H.E. Julio Cardinal Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R., appointed in 2001.

The church is served by diocesan clergy.


The church has a nave and integral semi-circular apse under the same pitched and tiled roof, which is an unusual design feature in Roman churches. The nave aisles have flat roofs. The exterior walls are mostly in brick of a purplish-grey colour, and there are not many architectural details in stone.

The entrance façade has two storeys, mostly of blank brickwork. The first storey has three entrances for nave and aisles, and these are arched with the nave entrance being larger. The arches are of tiles, flush with the wall and with no decoration. Unusually, they have no tympani but have their doors cut to fit the top curves. The frontage is decorated by six pairs of thin undecorated rectangular pilasters, which run to an entablature without architrave but with a frieze bearing a dedicatory inscription and a projecting cornice. This entablature runs across the entire façade, hiding the nave rooflines. Above it, the second storey or upper nave frontage is also mostly blank brickwork. There is a central round window, with mullions in the form of a Greek cross. Unusually, the fenestration is not glass but sheets of alabaster, an ancient method to be seen at Santa Sabina for example. In the gable is a stone tablet with the coat-of-arms of Pope Pius XII.

The clerestory walls of the nave are very high above the aisle roofs, and have two rows of windows. The lower set is vertically rectangular, and the upper are round. Between each pair is a pair of thin brick pilasters like those of the façade, this being the characteristic design feature of the church.

There is a detached campanile to the right of the façade, a tall elegant square tower in brick with three thin pilaster strips on three sides (the fourth side, facing away from the street, has staircase windows instead). Above a stone cornice is the bellchamber on a smaller plan, with large sound-holes each contining a Latin cross in stone. The cap is a low pyramid.


The nave is separated from the aisles by square pillars without arches, and above them is an inscription in gilt mosaic reading "Go and make disciples of all the nations". The roof is of wood, and is trussed. The upper nave walls are decorated by frescoes of the Twelve Apostles by Duili. The apse contains a fresco of the patron saint in glory accompained by angels, and at the base of this are scenes from his life. Above the nave arch are symbols of the Evangelists flanking Christ the King; all these works were executed by Alessandro Missori in 1945.

The stone Stations of the Cross in the nave aisles are by Ortisei. At the end of the left hand aisle is a fresco of Gethsemane and the walk to Emmaus, and at the end of the right hand aisle is a fresco containing scenes of the Nativity, the burial of Christ and the glory of Our Lady of Pompeii.

The mortal remains of St Giovanni Battista de Rossi were transferred to here from Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini on 23 May 1965, the day after the church had been consecrated. Luigi Cardinal Traglia, Vicar General of Rome, presided at the ceremony.

Special noteEdit

The feast of St Giovanni Battista de Rossi is celebrated on 23 May.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

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