Ascensione di Nostro Signore Gesù Christo is a mid 20th century parish and convent church at Via Manfredonia 5 in the Alessandrino district, just south of the Via Prenestina and east of Centocelle. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.


The parish was set up in 1948, and entrusted to the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, popularly known as the Dehonians after their 20th century French founder Leon Dehon.

The church was built in 1954, the architect being Francesco Fornari.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The style is neo-Romanesque, and rather old-fashioned for the time. There is a central nave with aisles of six main bays, and two sub-bays at the entrance and sanctuary. The aisles end in side chapels which flank the sanctuary sub-bay. There is a shallow rectangular apse.

The central nave roof is pitched and tiled, but the aisle roofs are flat. The apse has its own lower roof, with three pitches.

The central nave walls each have six round-headed windows, with mullions in the form of a Latin cross. The aisle walls are windowless, but the side chapels each have a small round window.

The apse has an enormous round-headed window, which has been given a rectangular external stone frame for some reason.

The exterior walls are rendered in a yellow ochre colour. The right hand side aisle elevation on the Via Conversano looks rather grim, and has five blind pilasters rendered in white cement, which support a roofline entablature with the simply molded architrave also in white. The sub-bay frontages at each end are also cement-rendered. There are two identical side entrances here, each with a molded doorcase at the top of a short flight of steps and a raised floating cornice.

The convent and parish centre occupies L-shaped ancillary quarters to the left of the church. One wing faces the street, and the other is attached to the left hand side aisle. Towards the end of the latter is a campanile in the form of a longitudinal slab, with three deep round-headed apertures for the bells and a triangular pediment.

Façade Edit

The two-storey facade is also rendered in ochre, with a high dado in limestone cladding, and is approached by a flight of steps. The central nave frontage has two pairs of blind limestone pilasters supporting a dividing entablature with its thin cornice and architrave in stone but the frieze in ochre. On the cornice sits a large lunette window dominating the second storey, which is divided into three by a pair of vertical mullions. In the central portion is a complex mullion design rather like the Union Jack hanging vertically, and with a circle superimposed. There is a crowning triangular pediment with a blank tympanum.

The simply molded stone doorcase is topped by a floating cavetto cornice, faintly ancient Egyptian in style, and above this is a large relief coat-of-arms of Pope Pius XII. The church's name is on the frieze of the entablature -Ascensione di N. S. G. C.

The side aisle frontages have horizontal rooflines, marked by extensions of the dividing entablature of the central nave frontage. Each side aisle has a corner pilaster, and an entrance in the same style as the main one but smaller. Over the entrance is a square sunk panel.


Nave Edit

The central nave is separated from its aisles by arcades of six arches on each side. These begin and end at short sections of solid walls which mark the nave sub-bays, and these walls end with engaged Doric piers revetted in green marble. The arcade archivolts are completely undecorated, and spring from square tile imposts supported by two square piers in dark green marble and three columns in red marble on each side. The colours alternate.

These sections of sub-bay wall also have pilasters in green on their outer faces, matched by a pilaster on the other side of the aisle in order to support an arch. These define the side entrance lobbies and the side chapels flanking the sanctuary. The aisle roofs are otherwise flat, and their walls are in a grass-green shade.

Howeverl, the central nave walls are in a pinkish pastel shade. Above the arches on each side is a floating entablature in white, with a very thin architrave and a projecting molded cornice. Above this in turn are six round-headed windows with Latin cross mullions. These windows, together with the round windows in the side chapels have stained glass which is of good quality but makes the interior rather gloomy.

The roof has a ceiling, which is a very shallow barrel vault with transverse ribs in white marking the nave bays.

Sanctuary Edit

The structural sanctuary is a rectangular apse, separated from the nave by a screen wall into which an enormous triumphal arch is cut. The nave entablatures are extended onto this wall, giving the impression of pier capitals.

However, there was a re-ordering of the sanctuary in the later 20th century. The new arrangement involves a sanctuary occupying the last bay of the nave together with its sub-bay, and is raised on three steps. The free-standing altar, the lectern and the three seats for ministers behind it have an open stonework pattern recalling the mullions in the central section of the lunette window in the counterfaçade.

Behind the seating, a solid wooden screen about two metres high divides the new sanctuary from the apse.

The apse wall has a very large stained glass window in a traditional figurative style, depicting the Ascension. It is by one Padre E. Barziza.

Access Edit

According to the Diocese, the church is open:

Daily 7:45 to 12:00, 16:30 to 19:45.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 9:00 (not July and August), 18:00 (18:30 in summer);

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00, 11:30 (not July and August), 18:00 (18:30 in summer but not July and August).

There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament before the evening Mass at 17:15 (17:45 in summer), but on First Fridays at 16:30 (17:00 in summer).

Lauds is celebrated at 8:00.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Dehonian web-page for church

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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