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Santa Maria Mediatrice dei Francescani

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Santa Maria Mediatrice dei Francescani is a 20th century convent church at Via Santa Maria Mediatrice 53, which is just off the Via Aurelia and south of the west end of Vatican City. This is in the Aurelio quarter.

The picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons has been removed owing to a copyright violation.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of Mediatrix of Graces (NOT the Mediatrix of All Graces).

HistoryEdit

The Franciscan Friars Minor had their headquarters at Santa Maria in Aracoeli for over six hundred years, before they were ejected by the Italian government in 1873. They then founded a new Generalate or headquarters at Sant’Antonio da Padova a Via Merulana, with a college attached.

However, having two institutions on one site proved difficult as the college grew in size. The answer was to found a separate Generalate on a new site.

The church was built 1940-1950 for this new headquarters. The architect was Giovanni Muzio, best known for the new Basilica of the Annunciation  at Nazareth.

ExteriorEdit

The exterior is in brown brick with travertine limestone trim, on an octagonal plan. The entrance façade occupies one face of the domed octagonal nave.

The doorway has a wide stone frame carved in geometric decoration, enclosing a transom window above the door. This is flanked by two pairs of stone Corinthian columns. Each pair supports a horizontal cornice, but the latter do not connect over the door. These short cornices support two more pairs of similar columns; the inner two of these support an archivot, and the outer two have two more cornices.

Above the door is a large rectagular window with a representation of Our Lady, then a relief of the emblem of the Order (two human arms in front of a cross) and finally, on top of the arch, a symbolic mountain familiar on churches and other historic mountains elsewhere in Rome. Here it represents Monte Verna, where St Francis received the stigmata.

The façade continues up as a blank wall to the roofline, with two small round-headed windows. Over the roofline you can see the lantern of the nave cupola, in the form of an octagonal aedicule with Corinthian pilasters at the corners. The ogee cap in copper has a ball finial. The dome sectors also look as if they are in copper.

InteriorEdit

The floor plan is unusual, with an octagon preceding the long friar's choir. This plan has old architectural roots, here executed with a modern flavour.

The mosaics in the low nave dome, which has a lantern, represent the Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant. They are a joint work by Giorgio Quaroni, Adriano Alessandrini and Ugo Chluryia.

There are two side altars; the left hand one is to St Mary Mediatrix with a relief by Francesco Nagni, and the right hand one is to St Francis with a depiction of his receiving the stigmata by Ivan Mestrovic.

The fresco of the Glories of the Franciscan Order in the apse of the choir is by Gisberto Ceracchini.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Photo from De Alvariis

Info.roma web-page

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