Santi Mario e Compagni Martiri is a rebuilt late 20th century parish church at Via del Ponte delle Sette Miglia 245, in the suburb of La Romanina south of the University campus in Tor Vergata and east of the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Orientale). This is in the Torrenova zone.
The dedication is to SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abacchum.
By tradition, four martyrs were interred in a cemetery called Ad nymphas at the thirteenth milestone on the Via Cornelia. This was probably in the early 4th century, Nothing else is known about them, although their fictional legend describes them as a husband and wife with two sons -a Persian family who met their fate while on pilgrimage..
This church can be regarded as a descendant of Santi Mario e Marta, which is now a private chapel.
The parish was set up in 1978, the mother parish being San Ferdinando Re.
The church was begun in 1989 and completed in 1993, the architect being Angelo Zamagna.
Tragically, the church caught fire just before Christmas 2007 and burned out completely. It was rebuilt in the following year, unfortunately with the loss of some interesting features.
Layout and fabric Edit
This church has a very low civic profile, being at the end of a curving dead-end street.
The plan is based on a square with the major axis on a diagonal and the corners of the square being chamfered. The far sides of the main square have two wings of ancillary accommodation, so the main church occupies a smaller square in front of these. The far sides of this smaller square meet the front sides of the larger square just before the side chamfers in the plan.
The low walls are in neatly-cut tufo stone blocks with a square exposure. These each have a row of six fairly large horizontally rectangular windows -one of these in the ancillary zone walls at the back is a doorway.
The roof is spectacular. It is in a black composition, and has an appreciable overhang at the eaves. The church proper has the roof in two side pitches with a ridge-line along the major axis, but the whole roof also has a steep longitudinal slope up to over the altar. The two ancillary wings are single-pitched, and these pitches join the two main pitches at a gable and short ridge-line over the side chamfers. The main roof thus has a vague resemblance to a manta ray.
Altar end Edit
The far end of the church used to be very distinctive, before the fire. The ancillary wings met at a short wall occupying the chamfer, with the roof pitches forming a short gable. Above this was the altar end of the church proper, an apse in the form of a chamfered corner or half-turret with three sides in white concrete. The central side had a large stained glass window in the shape of an inverted triangle with rounded corners. The roofline of the apse was crowned by vertical metal rods looking rather like organ pipes, rising in height to a central cross finial.
The distinctiveness of the apse was emphasised by its being flanked by two huge right-angled windows in between the sloping main roof and the horizontal roofs of the ancillary wings. These also had stained glass.
After the fire, the reconstruction blocked up the central window and replaced the metal rodding with three solid panels with a cross on the tip of the gabled central one.
The church has no monumentality in its entrance arrangements. The single front doorway is tucked into the near chamfer, under the bottom end of the main roof.
The interior now has its walls in white. Before the fire, only the apse was in white but the side walls were in exposed tufo blocks matching the outside. These have now been rendered over.
The apse used to have a stained glass window featuring heavenly bodies with a central roundel depicting the Dove of the Holy Spirit. The window has been blocked up, and replaced by a flat depiction of a crucifix surrounded (oddly) by comb-like forms recalling the lost finial on the apse exterior.
The large stained glass side windows have been repaired, however. They depict the calling and instruction of the apostles by Christ. However, two Biblical texts referring to these which used to be on a long stone strip under each window have gone.
The impressive roof is in timber, with two huge longitudinal plank rafters connected by transverse tie-beams.
The church is open daily from 7:30 to 21:00.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:30 (not August), 18:00 (19:00 July and August);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00, 11:30, 18:00 (19:00 July and August).