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Sant'Alfonso de'Liguori a Labaro

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Sant’Alfonso de’Liguori a Labaro is a very late 20th century parish church at Via della Giustiniana 245, which is in the north of the suburban district of Labaro, itself north-west of the junction between the Via Flaminia and the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale). Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

The patron saint is Alphonsus-Mary de Liguori.

History Edit

The parish was set up in response to suburban development in 1975.

The permanent church was completed in 2000, the design being by Sergio Ricci and Carlo Fioravanti.

Appearance Edit

Layout Edit

The church is part of a much larger complex including parochial and social facilities, which is overall an impressive modernist design.

The church itself is on the plan of an irregular hexagon. To generate it, take nine small squares and tesselate them to form a larger square, then cut the squares in the far corners across the diagonal.

The actual church edifice is surrounded on all sides by ancillary edifices, except the far left hand diagonal wall beyond which is a small enclosed garden. To the left is a tower campanile. In front of the church is an enormous octagonal atrium with the actual church entrance in the far side, a wide access occupying the lower right hand diagonal side and the other side sides occupied by more ancillary wings fronted by colonnaded walkways.

Fabric Edit

The fabric is in reinforced concrete, in a very light grey where exposed.

The framework of the edifice is immediately obvious both inside and out. Each side of the larger square of the plan is occupied by two rectangular piers formed of double concrete slabs, dividing the line of the side of the square into three. These two piers are continued at the top of the wall by double slab-beams running up a sloping pitch to the central square on the plan, where they support a set of four beams outlining the this smaller square. These beams support, in turn, a square lantern tower.

The roofing arrangements are complex. For the two small square units at the near corners, there is a tiled roof with a double pitch on the diagonal. These are matched by the two triangular units at the far diagonal sides, which have single tiled pitches. However, the square units in between the pairs of double beams have identical roofing slightly lower than this tile-work, and each of these comprises four massive horizontal concrete slabs arranged as a stairway and ending at a blank wall below the lantern tower. The risers of the stairway are filled with narrow window strips.

The lantern tower itself is a blank cuboid with horizontal rectangular sides, sitting on a projecting cornice itself on four window strips and topped by a low pyramidal glass cap.

The inner sloping slab-beam of each of the pairs of roofing beams just mentioned is extended beyond the church wall to support ancillary structures, ending in a short pier.

The walls are undecorated, in light grey concrete. The far diagonal sides, flanking the altar, do not have walls but instead have fenestration in window strips, separated by slabs set parallel to the major axis. The side walls each have a large square window in the centre section, flanked by two other windows shaped like a square with a staircase cut out of the lower outside corner.

The near corners of the church each have a chamfered cut-away below the roofline, containing slabs and window-slits like those flanking the altar.

Campanile Edit

The tall square tower campanile in grey concrete is to the left of the church, and is undecorated except for horizontal grooves dividing the tower into a stack of cubes. The bellchamber has four small sound-holes on each side at the top, these being arranged in a square. The top of the tower is in the form of two staircases, starting at the far left hand corner and ascending to the near right hand one.

Atrium Edit

The atrium has an octagonal courtyard, adjoining a wide trapezoidal entrance patio which occupies the lower right and side of the octagon. It is neatly and attractively paved in cobbles which are black, dark grey and light grey and which form a cross pattern.

In the centre of the cross is an odd feature looking like a well, although it seems to be nothing more than a large flowerpot in practice. It is square, in limestone with pink granite corners and side plaques which display gilded reliefs of what look like St Joseph and the Christ-child. There is an open metal cage with four vertical bars and a metal cross on top, which could never hold a water-bucket.

The other sides of the octagon have ancillary accommodation, fronted by covered walkways. These have pseudo-arcades supported by squat columns in dark grey with tile imposts; the archivolts are semi-hexagonal instead of having smooth curves. The roofs above have single long pitches, giving the atrium as a whole the feel of a modern sports stadium.

Façade Edit

The actual frontage of the church demonstrates its structural elements well, with the support beams of the tower very prominent. The wall below the roof of the central zone has a device in orange-red, in the form of an octagon in four separated sectors thus forming a cross motif. The beams are flanked to left and right by a pair of windows in the same style as those in the side walls -that is, in the shape of a square with a staircase cutting off its lower outer corner (a motif echoed in the campanile described above).

The colonnaded walkway of the atrium runs in front of the entrance, and bears a dedicatory inscription: D[eo] o[ptimo] m[aximo], in hon[ore] s[ancti] Alphonsi M[ariae] Liguori, an[no] iub[ilaeo] MM.

Interior Edit

Fabric Edit

The interior is dominated by the support beams of the central lantern tower, and the stepped roofing slabs in the roof sectors adjacent to its sides. The tower and these sectors form a cross motif.

The various concrete beams and slabs are in a light grey, and the infill panels are in white. The polished stone floor is in squares of white on brown. The windows are filled in clear wavy glass with a slight green tint.

The church has a good mosaic panel portrait of its patron saint, St Alphonsus.

Sanctuary Edit

The back wall of the sanctuary is revetted in slabs of a reddish-brown marble. In the centre is a large, tall semi-hexagonal engaged pier, with a window strip down each side. This bears a very large traditional painted wooden crucifix.

The sanctuary is raised on three steps, and is paved in what looks like polished travertine limestone. The altar has as its frontal a polychrome relief sculpture of The Last Supper. The font is to the left, and is an octagonal cup with sloping sides on a low plinth, in grey-veined white marble. The lectern or ambo to the right is in the same stone, but with polychrome embellishments in the form of a light green top and a reddish-brown dado matching the back wall. It bears four little coloured reliefs of angels, matching the altar frontal.

The seating for the ministers is against the back wall to the right, and the tabernacle is in the wall to the left surrounded by an outline frame in white marble.

Liturgy Edit

No information is (yet) available online as regards times of Masses.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website ("under construction")

Info.roma web-page

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