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Cappella dei Padri Bianchi is a later 20th century convent chapel at Via Aurelia 269, which is in the Aurelio quarter.

History Edit

The "Missionaries of Africa" (Missionari d'Africa) are almost universally known as the "White Fathers" (Padri Bianchi) after the colour of their habits. They are the most important Society of Apostolic Life dedicated to the evangelisation of Africa.

The Society was founded by Charles Lavigerie, the Cardinal Archbishop of Algiers in Algeria, in 1868. France had conquered Algeria, and its administration provided a safe context in which to attempt the Christian evangelisation of the native Muslims (there had been no Christians in Algeria before the conquest).

The Pères Blancs were valued by the natives in Algeria and the rest of North Africa for their educational outreach, but success in evangelisation was to be found south of the Sahara as Muslims simply do not convert to Christianity.

The headquarters remained in Algiers, but it was obvious that this could not continue once Algeria obtained independence, which it did in 1962. The Generalate was hence moved to Rome, where it remains.

Appearance Edit

The convent is a very large five-storey building, having three wings on a zig-zag plan. The chapel is a separate edifice, attached to one of the two right-angles in the zig-zag.

The inspiration for the chapel is obviously Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio. The building is a cylinder in white limestone, with a low circular dome supported on an interior ring colonnade.

The chapel has two entrances, opposite to each other, which are linked by enclosed walkways to the convent. The one on the east is immediately adjacent to the convent, while the one on the west is the terminus of a long arcaded corridor leading to the other end of the convent.

The outer wall is in limestone ashlar blocks, without decoration except for a dentillated roofline cornice. However, it is in twelve sectors which are marked by a small vertical rectangular window below the roofline in each one. For the sectors not containing entrances there is also a corresponding but much larger window below.

The shallowly single-pitched and tiled main roof around the dome is also in twelve sectors. The dome has a low drum rendered in yellow, with twelve little vertical rectangular windows well spaced. It has twelve truncated triangular sectors, also at a low pitch, which meet at a large central This is covered by twelve concrete struts supporting a central finial, in the form of a little round temple with twelve columns. This is crowned by a conical metal wire finial with a crowning cross.

External links Edit

Congregation's website

Info.roma web-page

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