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Santissimo Redentore a Val Melaina

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Santissimo Redentore a Val Melaina

English name: Holy Redeemer at Melaina Valley
Dedication: Jesus Christ the Redeemer
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Built: 1977
Contact data

Santissimo Redentore a Val Melaina is a later 20th century parish and titular church at Via Monte Ruggero 63 in the suburb of Tufello in the Monte Sacro quarter. A picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons is here.

The dedication is to our Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer.

History Edit

The remote origins of the church lie in the foundation of a curacy (vicecura) in 1933, dependent on the church of Santi Angeli Custodi. This was erected as a parish in its own right in 1937, and put in the charge of the Scalabriniani (Missionari di San Carlo) in 1950.

A new church for the parish was begun in 1975, to a design by Ennio Canino and Viviana Rizzi. It was structurally complete by 1977, and finally finished in the following year.

The church was made titular in 1994, the first cardinal priest being Ersilio Tonini. He died in 2013, and was replaced by Ricardo Ezzati Andrello in the following year.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The church is in a developed modernist style, rather quirky. It is an integral part of a larger parish and social complex on a rectangular plan, being flanked by ancillary accommodation at the sides and the back.

These ancillary structures are arranged symmetrically, and conceal the exterior of the church. The latter occupies the major axis of the rectangle, with a fairly narrow wing abutting it on either side and a larger block at the back. If you go round to the Via Monte Ruggero to the left, you will see a blank screen wall in limestone ashlar blocks, with blind pilasters running up to a deep grey cornice. This wall conceals the left hand side wing, but is cut down for the back wing (which is architecturally boring) to rise over it. There is a flat-roofed white octagonal tower in front of the latter, which is one of a pair flanking the church's sanctuary.

The church itself is structurally a nave with side aisles. There is no separate structural sanctuary. A design quirk is that both the entrance façade and the back wall are coved -that is, they curve inwards.

The fabric is in reinforced concrete. The roof of the nave is described as trefoliate, which means that its vault has a central semi-circular curve flanked by two quarter-circles. The covering is in black composite. The side aisle roofs are flat.

The incurved ends of the church are higher than the main roof, and have an identical sweeping single curve to their tops. (You can see this in the façade.) These end structures actually support the roof, and so are solidly built.

Façade Edit

Unusually, the side wings are brought forward at the entrance end to form two pavilions on either side of a courtyard in front of the church's entrance façade. These wings are stone-clad, but each has a row of ten very narrow slit windows on the end facing the street, these windows being separated by dark grey brick pilasters running up to a continuation of the grey cornice topping the exterior side wall. Note that the church's frontage is side-on to a street that slopes up from left to right. The height of the stone-clad plinths below the windows is the same in each pavilion, which means that the windows in the right hand one are much shorter to accommodate the slope.

One pavilion contains the Blessed Sacrament chapel, the other the confessionals.

The actual façade is a laterally concave blank wall which has vertical stripes in white and dark grey, the white stripes having regularly spaced pairs of square dots along their edges which form horizontal lines. These dots only run as far as just below the springing of the top curve, while the stripes run all the way. (The incurved wall at the other end of the church, behind the altar, is similarly treated but has no doorway.)

The central white stripe, above the entrance, has seven vertical black dots matching one each in a horizontal line on the four white stripes on either side, thus forming a cross. The effect produced is striking and unusual.

There is a transverse lenticular-shaped floating flat canopy in dull red over the entrance, with a rather banal epigraph on its edge: Parrocchia SS Redentore.

The façade courtyard is screened off by ugly steel railings, set in four stone piers with their tops curved to match the top of the façade.

Interior Edit

The surprise in the interior is that the side aisles are open to the central nave, without any supporting piers. The interior of the central roof is painted in a dull red, but the side aisles are in white.

The altar has a free-standing concave backing screen in orange-brown sprinkled with white squares, on which is a crucifix. Behind, the otherwise blank concrete back wall has a large fresco of The Resurrection of Christ.

Liturgy Edit

The parish website has been defunct for some time. According to the Diocese, Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 8:00 (8:30 summer), 9:00 (not summer), 18:00 (18:30 summer, 17:30 winter Saturdays);

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00 (8:30 summer), 9:00 (not summer), 10:30 (11:00 summer), 12:00 (not summer), 18:00 (18:30 summer).

"Summer" here is 1 June to 2 September.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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