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Santa Lucia a Piazza d'Armi is a Fascist-era 20th century parish and titular church, with its postal address at Via di Santa Lucia 5 in the Della Vittoria quarter. The main entrance is on the Circonvallazione Clodia just south of Monte Mario. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.
The cardinalate title is Santa Lucia a Piazza d'Armi, which looks as if it contains a street name. However, it does not. The Piazza d'Armi was a very large army parade ground which was here before the suburb.
The church is usually referred to merely as Santa Lucia. There are other churches dedicated to St Lucy of Syracuse in Rome, but this is the only one with a parish -and the Diocese gives priority in naming to parish churches. Using the cardinalate title in writing about the edifice avoids confusion, however.
The parish was established in 1936, and the church was completed in the same year. It was designed by Tullio Rossi, who had a very fruitful and long career as a 20th century architect of Roman churches.
The church was made titular in 1973. The present cardinal priest is Théodore Adrien Sarr.
Layout and fabric Edit
This is large, hulking edifice in red brick with a basilical layout. It has a long, narrow central nave of seven bays, with wide side aisles. The central nave is fronted by a gigantic propylaeum or entrance porch, and the side aisles are extended forwards to flank this in the frontage.
The sanctuary is a further bay, and had an external three-sided apse in the form of half a hexagon. There is no transept, but the side aisles are extended to flank the sanctuary bay. Here there is a pair of side chapels.
The central nave walls above the aisles have rectangular windows, one for each bay. The roofs are pitched and tiled. The propylaeum is higher than the nave behind and has its own roof. The sanctuary roof is slightly lower than the nave roof, and merges into the three triangular sectors covering the apse. The side aisle roofs each have a single pitch.
The fairly short square brick campanile is next to the far end of the right hand aisle of the church, and has a vertical rectangular soundhole on each face flanked by a pair of vertical grooves echoing the pattern on the façade.
The church is fronted by the enormous and rather overpowering propylaeum. This has a very large, tall round-headed portal reaching almost to the level of the central nave side rooflines, with a pair of rectangular apertures flanking it of the same width and reaching as high as the arch springers. This design gives the impression of four enormous brick pilasters, two at the corners and two flanking the arch, although they are one with the brickwork of the rest of the façade. Each of these pilasters has a vertical decorative groove running up its centre. Tucked into the gable is a stone tablet bearing a papal coat-of-arms, which is the only stonework on the façade.
The aisle entrances are not recessed, and are simple rectangles with transom windows.
Inside the narthex, the main entrance has a very simple stone doorcase with a large S. LUCIA above it. Above that is an arched stained glass window.
As is usual with Rossi's interiors, the interior is dominated by the white of ceiling and walls. The aisles are trabeated, that is, there are no arcade arches but only columns in pale yellow marble with imposts which support horizontal entabatures on each side. The imposts have gilded mosaic decoration.
Each of the seven nave bays has a large rectangular window in the central nave wall on each side, although the three far ones on the right hand side are false because of an ancillary building abutting the church on that side. These windows have depictions of the Works of Mercy from the Centro Aletti, designed by Marko Rupnik.
The flat central nave ceiling has large transverse concrete beams, one above each pair of opposite columns. There is a plain triumphal arch entering into the apse, and at the end of each aisle is a little chapel with its own entrance arch. The central nave floor is in marble from Trani, with a wide stripe of red granite down the major axis.
The confessionals in the right hand aisle have glass doors engraved with scenes of the Prodigal Son.
The left hand side aisle has a representation of the Madonna del Divino Amore by Silvio Alessandri.
The sanctuary apse contains a crucifix by Francesco Nagni (actually, it is a corpus floating in the void without a cross) on a round-topped panel framed by an arch. The panel is free-standing, with a gap between it and the arch and you can see that the church's organ is hidden behind it.
To either side are stained glass windows of SS Peter and Paul. Below is a semi-circular stone bench for the liturgical ministers which is fitted into the curve of the apse, with a large arch-backed celebrant's church in its middle. This bench is raised on two steps of marble and red granite, and the free-standing altar is itself raised on a three-step platform of the same materials, from which these two further steps lead.
Side chapels Edit
Nagni is responsible for the statue of St Lucy in the right hand chapel, but the mosaic background to this is by Silvio Alessandri. He also executed the mosaics in the left hand chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, which was re-fitted in 1999. The ovoid tabernacle with four silver angels is by Lello Scorzelli.
The Ferial Chapel opens off the right hand side aisle, and is where Masses are celebrated on weekdays. It has an altarpiece of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
According to the Diocese, the church is open:
7:50 to 12:00, 16:00 to 19:45.
Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website:
Weekdays 8:00, 9:00, 11:00, 19:00;
Sundays and Solemnities: 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:15, 15:00, 17.00 (in Spanish) and 19.00.