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Santa Giovanna Antida Thouret a Fonte Meravigliosa

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Santa Giovanna Antida Thouret a Fonte Meravigliosa is a later 20th century parish church at Via Roberto Ferruzzi 110, in the suburb of Fonte Meravigliosa to the east of EUR. This is part of the Giuliano-Dalmata quarter. A picture of the church on Wikimedia Commons is here.

The dedication is to St Jeanne Antide Thouret, the French foundress of the "Sisters of Charity of Besançon" who died in 1828.

Beware of confusion with the convent church of Santa Giovanna Antida Thouret delle Suore della Carità.

History Edit

The parish was established in 1980. Initially it worshipped in shop premises on Via Lorgna, but had to make do with a tent or the open air for any liturgical celebration attracting a crowd. However, in 1986 a prefabricated temporary church was erected on the present site -this is still there, although not now used for worship.

The permanent church was started in 1990, and consecrated in 1993. The architect was Carlo Bevilacqua, assisted by Anna Maria Feci who did the stained glass windows.

The sanctuary was remodelled in 2012.

Exterior Edit

Layout Edit

The church is part of a social and sports complex on a prime site in this compact suburb. It is set away from the street, and in fact has a subdued civic presence -apart from the tall campanile. The gateway gives onto a path leading to the parish offices and crypt entrance, and to find the church's main entrance you have to turn right. To the left on passing through the gate is the old prefabricated church, in the corner of the site among shrubs.

The church has the plan of an irregular but symmetrical hexagon, with two lengths of side and with short sides alternating with long ones. The entrance side and the two far diagonal sides are longer, and the two near diagonal sides with the altar side are shorter.

The site slopes down from front to back, allowing for a crypt with an entrance under the far left hand side (already mentioned), and the campanile stands near this. It is part of a monumental staircase leading to the upper storeys of the parish offices, situated in a trapezoidal-shaped block attached to the back of the church. This has a lower wing which returns at an angle of sixty degrees to meet the church at its middle right hand corner, enclosing a small courtyard which gives access to the ferial chapel from the church. The former is a triangular unit incorporated into the trapezoidal block but having its own, slightly higher roof.

Fabric Edit

The church itself is a low edifice (although it looks taller than it is from the street entrance because of the crypt). It is of reinforced concrete, but the unusual roof is in laminated timber.

The outside walls are in pale grey, and the diagonal side walls have continuous window strips just below the eaves. In the far left hand side wall, this strip is extended downwards to form a large window. There is no fenestration in the altar wall, because that abuts the parish offices.

The flat roof is complex, on three levels. Take a line from the corner to the right of the entrance to that to the left of the altar, and another one from the corner to the right of the altar to meet the first line at sixty degrees. You then have three zones -a half hexagon to the left, an equilateral triangle over the altar and a parallelogram to the right. The level steps up in that order. The near half of the triangle is raised up in a single pitch to form a lantern throwing light on the altar, via two right-angled triangular windows. The left hand half-hexagon roof has a rectangular section in it raised in the same way to provide a window strip throwing light to the left hand side of the church.

The eaves are quite deep, in white with a thin protruding cornice in grey.

Campanile Edit

The campanile has a triangular plan, and is formed to two tall concrete slabs connected across the third side by a pair of beams. These two slabs are cut off at the top at an angle, and for the slab furthest from the street entrance the angle is occupied by a triangular cut-out. However, the slab nearest to the entrance bears a tall trapezoidal frame with the bells hanging in the void.

Façade Edit

The entrance wall and the near diagonal wall to the right are recessed under the line of the roof, forming an open porch. At the corners and also five-eighths of the way along the right hand wall the roof is supported by protruding pairs of plank beams supported by single diagonal plank struts springing from low engaged piers. However, flanking the entrance there is a pair of supports each having two plank struts diverging from the pier.

The entrance wall is mostly in clear plate glass.

Interior Edit

The interior is dominated by the spectacular laminated and varnished roof, with vertical plank beams. The roof is supported not by the walls, but by sets of diagonally placed plank struts springing from low cylindrical columns. A pair of these flanks the altar.

The large window to the left has stained glass in blue and yellow, evoking the rising sun.

The sanctuary is on a platform raised on three steps. It is backed by a screen bearing an iconic representation of the Dormition (death of Our Lady). Above this is an 18th century crucifix donated by the Sisters of Charity when the church was built.

The ferial chapel is accessed via the far right diagonal side.

Access Edit

The church is now open daily from 8:00 to 20:00.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 8:30, 18:00 (18:30 in summer);

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 18:00 (18:30 in summer).

The Divine Office is celebrated with Lauds on weekdays at 9:00. There is Lectio Divina at 18:30 on Thursdays (19:00 in summer).

The church has the privilege of Perpetual Adoration (24 hours) in the ferial chapel. Those taking part outside church opening hours are locked in, presumably.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page (contains erroneous information)

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