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Cappella degli Oblati di San Giuseppe is a mid 20th century convent chapel, remodelled in the early 21st century, which is at Via di Boccea 364 in the Primavalle quarter.

The institution is dedicated to St Joseph.

The crypt is home to a Romanian Orthodox parish, the Parrocchia Ortodossa Romena di San Pantaleo (Parohiei Ortodoxe Române "Sfântul Panteleimon in Romanian). This is dedicated to St Panteleimon. The address is Via Adriano I 189/B, which is round the back.

History Edit

The Oblates of St Joseph (Oblati di San Giuseppe), an originally lay congregation now including clerics, was founded in Asti by St Joseph Marello in 1878. They took over the little church of San Lorenzo in Fonte at Rome in 1918, and established their Generalate (headquarters) next door.

However, the church is small and the convent cramped. So, in the optimistic period after the Second World War, when vocations were plentiful, a large new Generalate with a church-sized chapel was built on a suburban site in 1956. The architects were Giulio Sciascia and Ildo Avetta.

The same architects were commissioned in 1970 to build a new parish church next door, San Giuseppe all'Aurelio.

The chapel was remodelled by Roberto Panella, beginning in 2001 and ending in 2006.

Unlike other congregations, this one continues with a notable presence in Rome (64 priests are listed by the Diocese for 2018). The chapel is now shared with a Romanian Orthodox worshipping community, since 2012. They are in the crypt.

The premises also include a seminary, the Collegio San Giuseppe Marello.

The congregation has an Italian nickname: Giuseppini d'Asti.

Exterior Edit

The chapel is invisible from the Via Boccea, but you can see it from the Via Adriano I round the back.

The Generalate consists of two horribly ugly flat-roofed five-storey modernist blocks, with no attempt at being interesting or "challenging". This is "Costa Brava" architecture. The blocks are separate, with one paralleling the main road above a revetting wall and the other behind the left hand end with a covered corridor joining the two.

The chapel is hidden away behind the right hand end of the main block. It is on the plan of an irregular hexagon, stretched along the major axis and with the far side narrower than the near one. This means that the far diagonal walls are longer than the near ones. The frontage is attached to the convent block, and there is a ground-level crypt. Two little triangular chapels project from the far diagonal side walls, and a sacristy block wraps itself around the sanctuary area.

The fabric comprises a reinforced concrete frame, with infill in what looks like yellow tufo stone blocks. There are no windows, except for rows of little vertical rectangular apertures in the near walls of the chapels.

The roof has a complex form. There are two gable-pitches, a very low one for the nave and a much higher one for the sanctuary which occupies the far end of the area bounded by the far diagonal side walls. Where they join is a vertical window, throwing light on the altar. The roofing is in grey tiles. The nave roof ridge-line slopes up slightly, and the sanctuary ridge-line slopes down more steeply. The white box-eaves project, and share this slope. The near diagonal walls have a pair of deep window strips, but these narrow in an upslope before the side corners to become very thin strips below the rest of the nave roof and the sanctuary roof. The sacristy has its own roof, lower than that of the sanctuary.

Interior Edit

The interior is simply decorated. The walls are in a puce colour (purplish pink), and the ceiled roof is in white. The floor is in red marble, including the sanctuary platform with five steps.

The narrow, gabled far wall of the sanctuary is entirely covered with a representation of St Joseph with the Christ-child. They are accompanied by Pope St Pius X (?) to the left, St Joseph Marello to the right and members of the Oblates below.

There are two little side chapels in the far diagonal walls, on a triangular plan. The courses in the near walls of these are laid with vertical gaps in them, which have been filled with stained glass. The left hand chapel is dedicated to Our Lady, and the right to St Joseph Marello and there are two round paintings of these as altarpieces.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Congregation's website

Romanian parish website

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