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Cappella del Pontificio Collegio Urbano "de Propaganda Fide" is a 20th century Fascist-era college chapel at Via Urbano VIII in the rione Borgo.

History Edit

The Pontificio Collegio Urbano "Propaganda Fidei" has had a long history, in that it was founded in 1627 for the purpose of training missionary priests for areas which had no functioning Catholic hierarchy. This included those parts of Europe lost to the Catholic Church during the Reformation. The pope responsible was Urban VIII, hence the name.

A former hospital site at the north end of the Janiculum was obtained in 1925 for new premises. It was decided to create two separately administered institutions here, the Collegio as a hall of residence and the "Pontifical Urban University" to take over all teaching responsibilities. The latter was opened in 1926 and has grown massively since, while the former was only finally finished in 1931.

Exterior Edit

The Collegio is an enormous single block, in a pallid neo-Baroque style, seriously Stalinist in effect if not in conception. It is on the plan of a quarter-arc of a circular ring, and consists of three main radial blocks connected by four narrower circumferential ones to create two enclosed courtyards. The outer radial blocks have five storeys, while the rest have four.

The chapel is a church-sized area occupying the first two storeys of the central radial range. The main entrance is halfway along the inner arc in the plan, and this leads through the lobby into the chapel. Halfway along the frontage of the outer arc is the semi-circular chapel apse, protruding from the frontage and having a central round window flanked by a pair of round-headed ones. The roof is a tiled quarter-sphere.

The college is on the northernmost outlier of the Janiculum, which here is revetted by defensive walls. Part of it is right over the road tunnel called the Galleria Principe Amedeo di Savoia-Aosta. Despite its size, there is no good view from a public location although a corner of it is visible from the Via delle Mura Aurelie.

Interior Edit

The chapel has a basilical plan of five bays, and could easily function as a parish church. The narrow side aisles are separated from the central nave by massive square concrete support piers, which also bear second-floor galleries running down each side above the aisles. These galleries have wooden frontals, pierced in a cross pattern.

The far bay, containing the sanctuary, has each of its aisle portals embellished with a pair of Tuscan Doric columns in red marble. The right hand aisle end is a chapel dedicated to St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, protomartyr of the College, with an altarpiece depicting him.

The décor is in a pale yellow, with architectural details in white.

The windows in the sanctuary apse have stained glass. In the central round one is a depiction of Christ, with the Holy Family to the left and the Three Wise Men of Epiphany to the right.

External links Edit

College website

Info.roma web-page

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