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Sant'Antonio Abate dei Maroniti

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Sant'Antonio Abate dei Maroniti is the late 19th century convent chapel of the headquarters in Rome of the Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is at Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli 8 in the rione Monti.

The dedication is to St Anthony of Egypt.

The convent belongs to the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, which is in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

HistoryEdit

The monastic order had been founded in 1695 by three young Maronites from Aleppo, who established their first monastery at Qannoubine in northern Lebanon. The Maronite rite is one of the Eastern rites of the Catholic church, and its adherents pride themselves on never having been out of communion with the Pope.

In 1707 Pope Clement XI gave the conventual complex of Santi Marcellino e Pietro al Laterano to the flourishing new order. Apparently the monastery did not do well, and the church fell into such disrepair that rebuilding was necessary. The monks moved out in 1753, and settled here. They have been in residence ever since.

In 1770 there was a schism within the order principally over the question of whether the monks should engage in pastoral work. Those who did were called Aleppines, and those who did not were the Lebanese. The former remained in possession of this property, and it is now their Roman headquarters. There was a complete rebuilding at the end of the 19th century.

AppearanceEdit

In 1753 the monks took over a private villa with extensive gardens, and converted one room of it into a chapel. Apparently the building had no architectural pretensions. The 19th century replacement, at the south side of the piazza (you are looking at it when you leave the basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli), is an impressive four-storey palazzo in a neo-Renaissance style and all in white.

The chapel has no separate architectural identity, and is private.

The garden of the monastery is now the convent of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Piccole Sorelle dei Poveri, and this has been mistaken for the Maronite monastery.

External linksEdit

Watercolour of old convent

Article on Maronites in Rome

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