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Sant'Eugenio

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Sant'Eugenio

English name: St Eugenius
Latin name: Sancti Eugenii Papae
Dedication: St Eugenius
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Type: Titular church, Minor basilica
Built: 1951
Contact data
Address: Viale delle Belle Arti 10
00196 Roma
Phone: 06 32 00 700
Fax: 06 32 01 923

Sant'Eugenio is a modern parish church at Viale delle Belle Arti 10, just east of the Via Flaminia and near the Villa Giulia in the Pinciano district. It is dedicated to St Eugenius, a 7th century Pope.

HistoryEdit

The church was built by PopePius XII (Eugenio Pacelli), dedicated to his baptismal patron saint. The funds were taken from gifts he received on the silver-jubilee of his episcopate in 1942. The altar was consecrated by Pius XII in 1951. A college for young men studying for the priesthood at the Roman universities is annexed to the church.

The next to last titular of the church was Francesco Cardinal Colasuonno, appointed 21 February 1998. He died on 31 May 2003. The present titular deacon is Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado, who was created cardinal on 21 October 2003.

ExteriorEdit

The church is built in a style imitating and updating Baroque, and is one of the great modern domed churches of Rome. The plan is of a Latin cross, with a shallow rectangular presbyterium without a structural apse. The roofs are in red tile, and those over the main transepts and presbyterium are hipped. Unusually there are five attached chapels, three on the left and two on the right, amounting to subsidiary transepts. These are on each side of the nave beyond the aisles, and have hipped roofs as well. The dome over the crossing is a drum placed in a square frame, capped by a shallow tiled roof of twelve triangular pitches meeting at a small lantern. This drum has two storeys, the main one having twelve large arched windows and topped by a projecting cornice, while the low second storey supporting the roof has a slightly smaller diameter and twelve small rectangular windows. A spiral staircase runs up the side from the liturgical north-east, compromising the identity of one of the arched windows. On top of the lantern is a statue of St Michael by Gerardi.

The two-storey entrance façade is entirely in travertine limestone, whereas the body of the church (including the dome) is in red brick with some architectural details in stone. The nave frontage is brought forward from that of the aisles, and the entrance zone of the first storey of this is brought forward in turn. The latter has a pair of rectangular derivative Composite pilasters (the acanthus leaves are radically simplified) with plinths at its corners, and a simple doorcase. Over the lintel is an inscription "Opus iustitiae pax" (peace is the work of justice), and above this is a relief carving of six angels adoring the Sacred Initials (IHS) with cross and nails. There is another pair of pilasters in the same style at the outer corners of the nave frontage, and another pair on those of the aisle frontages, making six in all. The capitals of these are worth inspecting (binoculars are useful here), because they incorporate figures of saints. The aisle entrances are smaller, again with simple doorcases. Over the left hand one is a relief carving of Justice personified, and over the right hand one is Peace. These are by Francesco Nagni. The pilasters support a full entablature, which is stepped horizontally to accommodate the three different positions of the façade elements. The frieze has a dedicatory inscription, and the year of consecration.

The second storey of the façade, above the naves, has three separate elements with their own entablatures. The central one contains a large arched window with a balustraded balcony in front, while those of either side have relief figures of the Evangelists (two in each, one above the other) carved by Alessandro Monteleone. The composition is crowned by a blank triangular pediment. Concave curves, with very small volutes at their ends, join the outer edges of the aisle rooflines and the pediment. Apart from these miserable volutes, this is a very successful and enjoyable neo-Baroque ensemble.

Each side chapel has a small porthole window in its exterior wall, and each transept a large one.

There is a campanile attached to the left hand transept, to the left of the presbyterium and not reaching the height of the dome. It has three storeys, large arched sound-holes and a shallow pyramidal cap.

InteriorEdit

The nave has an undecorated barrel vault. Unusually, there are no nave arcades. Instead there are three open kiosks on each side, each having a pair of red marble columns in the round with (more traditional) Composite capitals. These columns support full entablatures, which are linked up to form a continuous run all around the church. The frieze of this has a mosaic inscription. Two parallel transverse ribs run between each pair of kiosks to support the vault, and between the top of each pair of kiosks is an arch.

The left hand side chapels are dedicated to SS Nicholas of Flüe (a Swiss saint), Catherine of Siena and Philip Neri. The last-named contains a statue of the saint by Francesco Messina. In the walls between the chapel entrances are three stained glass windows, depicting the saintly popes Marcellus I, Sylvester I and Damasus. The right hand chapels are to St Frances Xavier Cabrini, with a statue of the saint by Pericle Fazzini, and St Francis of Assisi, with a statue by Domenico Rambelli. In between them, the stained-glass window shows Pope Gregory VII Hildebrand.

The left hand transept contains the altar of Our Lady of Fatima, with stained-glass windows depicting Popes Martin I and Hormisdas. The right hand one has the altar to SS Peter and Paul, with frescoes by Marcello Avellani and two other windows depicting Popes Leo IV and Agatho. The Blessed Sacrament altar is to the left of the high altar, and the altar of St Joseph to its right with frescoes by Giuseppe Ceracchini.

The high altar is in a pedimented shrine of Classical form, with a pair of Corinthinan pilasters in yellow marble and a backdrop in green marble curved as a segment of a cylinder. On the latter is affixed a bronze effigy of Pope Eugene by Attilio Selva. The inscription on the frieze is "Salus et refugium",meaning "Salvation and refuge". Behind the shrine is a non-structural apse with a conch, and this displays The Triumph of the Cross in mosaic by Ferruccio Farazzi. This is a very successful work in the Baroque style. Pope Pius XII is among the persons represented in it.


External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia Page

Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons

Parish website

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