|San Girolamo della Carità|
|English name:||St Jerome of Charity|
|Titular church||Jorge Maria Cardinal Mejia|
|Architect(s):||Filippo Jovarra Francesco Borromini|
|Address:|| 62/a Via de Monserrato |
|Phone:||06 68 79 786|
San Girolamo della Carità is dedicated to St Jerome, Doctor of the Church, and is at Via Monserrato 62/A near the Palazzo Farnese. The piazza next to it has two more churches, Santa Catarina della Rota and San Tommaso di Canterbury. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons. 
By tradition the church was built on the site of the house of St Paula, where St Jerome lived when he was secretary to Pope Damasus I. The first documentary evidence for it is from the 14th century, when it was attached to a convent of Franciscan Observants. In 1524 the complex was taken over by the Confraternita della Carità, founded for charitable works by the future Pope Clement VII. It was they who allowed St Philip Neri (a fellow Florentine) to live there after he had been ordained priest in 1551, and his followers who formed the nascent congregation of the Oratorians used to meet with him in the galleries from 1561 until they moved to the Chiesa Nuova in 1564. The church was rebuilt in by the confraternity in 1654-1660.
The architect of the rebuilding was Domenico Castello, to a rectangular plan involving a nave and external side-chapels. The two-storey white stone façade was added by Carlo Rainaldi in 1660. The upper part of this is entirely false, towering above the little nave behind (as can be easily seen from the piazza). The street is t
oo narrow for it to be easily appreciated. The entrance is flanked by two pairs of Corinthian pilasters, the outer pair doubled, and there is another pair on the corners of the first storey. The doorcase is crowned by a raised segmental pediment with a broken cornice, and into the gap is insterted a pentagonal tablet decorated with a maiden's head above, a scallop shell below and volutes and swags on either side. There is another pair of volutes on the doorframe below the lintel, facing each other. The pilasters support an entablature with a projecting cornice, except above the entrance where there is a Baroque tablet based on a horizontal rectangle. Above the line of the cornice over the entrance is a segmental pediment, intruding into the second storey. The latter has a large arched central window just above, with a pair of Composite half-columns supporting a triangular pediment with a broken cornice. On top of the window arch is a putto's head with swags, and above it a tablet inserted into the pediment. This storey has two pairs of Composite pilaster with prominent volutes, supporting an entablature and double pediment which has a segment inserted into a triangle. The entablature is again broken by the insertion of a tablet. There is a pair of gigantic double volutes flanking this storey, and flaming vases at its corners. The central finial has been damaged, and bears an iron cross.The side wall of the church facing the piazza has another entrance. The doorway is crowned by a narrow rectangular tablet under a raised cornice, and is flanked by two pairs of Corinthian pilasters with the inner pair doubled. These support an entablature and an undersized pediment containing a motif of a cross in a circle. The apex of the pediment reaches the roofline of the external chapels. A pair of identical pediments occupies the corners, and in between each of these and the entrance frontage is an area of brick walling topped by a lunette window lighting a chapel, above which is a solid stone parapet running along the roofline. Above this, the main roofline of the nave is interrupted at one point by a little cylindrical lantern with a rectangular window and little hemispherical dome.
The nave has four chapels leading off it, two on each side. In between each pair is a gallery with a bowed balustraded balcony, the right one being over the side entrance. The flat wooden ceiling is coffered, and richly carved in blue and gold. The high altar is within a little apse with an arched top, the underside of the arch being decorated with rosettes. The altarpiece was also designed by Carlo Rainaldi, and contains a copy by Agostino Carracci of a painting showing The Last Communion of St Jerome by Domenichino.
The Chapel of St Philip Neri, otherwise known as the Cappella Antamoro, is to the left of the altar, and was designed by Filippo Juvarra in 1710. It contains a large marble statue of the saint by Pierre Legros, with an oval window behind which has a sunburst fenestration and a gilded frame. The effect is spectacular, like an oversized halo. Frolicking marble putti above the window add a charming note, and find their way into the oculus of the little domed ceiling.
The Capella Spada is the first on the right. It was traditionally designed by Francesco Borromini, who was allegedly commissioned by the Spada family in 1660. However, a recent revisionist controversy has modified this opinion. The chapel was paid for by Virginio Cardinal Spada, who was a follower of St Philip Neri, and the same cardinal certainly employed Borromini to work on his palace. However, the artist responsible for this chapel is now thought to have been Cosimo Fanzago from Naples. All the architectural elements are hidden behind decorative polychrome, mainly in jasper and marble. Several members of the Spada family are buried here, and their busts and statues are all of the school of Bernini. At the entrance of the chapel is a pair of white marble angels holding a cloth carved in red marble, as if they are about to cover a table with it. This composition is by Antonio Giorgetti, and seems to block access to the chapel. However, their wings are of wood and can actually swing out of the way.