Chiesa Centrale della Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore is a mid 20th century private college chapel located at Largo Francesco Vito 1 in the Trionfale quarter. The university has an English Wikipedia page here.

Status Edit

This is the so-called "Central Church" of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. It certainly has the dimensions and appearance of a church, but the DIocese regards it as only a private chapel in the territory of the parish of Gesù Divino Maestro. The fundamental difference is that a church is, at times, open freely to the public and has Mass publicly celebrated.

Given that, the website of the DIocese concedes the honorific title of chiesa.

The edifice does not seem to be consecrated, but if it were it would presumably be to the Sacred Heart.

History Edit

The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore was founded in Milan in 1921 as a private Catholic research institute, and has grown into what is claimed as the largest Catholic university in the world.

The Rome campus was first proposed in 1936 as the site of the medical faculty, but was only actually begun in 1958 and inaugurated in 1961. The first complex included the church. In the same year construction began of a large teaching hospital, the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli which is an enormous sprawling edifice to the south of the faculty block.

Appearance Edit

The church has the plan of a Latin cross, comprising a single nave of four bays followed by a wide transept. Finally comes a sanctuary of a single bay, with an external apse.

Wings of the university closely flank the church on both sides, and abut it on the ends of its transept. Hence, the exterior is not easily viewed. The main roof is pitched and tiled, and covers the nave, transept and sanctuary. The semi-circular apse is lower, and has a tiled roof in sectors.

The entrance has an extra bay which is part of a structurally separate frontal block. This has a flat roof, at the level of the side rooflines of the church behind.

Façade Edit

The façade is very old-fashioned for its date. It is monumental and in a neo-Baroque style, and is actually the main entrance for the university administration block. It is approached by a long stairway up a slope laid out as a garden.

The composition is in red brick, with architectural details in white limestone, and has two storeys. The first storey has six Corinthian pilasters, including two at the corners, and these divide the storey into three wide zones and two narrow ones. The wide ones contain entrance doorways. The two narrow zones are recessed, and the bounding pilasters are doubletted at the corners.

The smaller side doors have triangular pediments and each has a small stone-framed square window over it, while the main central door has a raised segmental pediment with the cornice broken by a heraldic relief.

The pilasters support a full entablature, on which stands an Attic plinth bearing the second storey. In between the pilaster capitals are panels bearing swags in relief.

The second storey has the same number of pilasters and the same arrangement of zones. However, only the central pilasters have Corinthian capitals -the other four are blind. These support a crowning entablature which has no architrave. The inner three zones of walling have framing fillets.

The length of entablature over the central pair of Corinthian pilasters does, however, have an architrave. Above it is a triangular pediment containing a heraldic shield in relief.

The central zone of the second storey has a large window with a raised segmental pediment on two pair of strap corbels -the outer pair are turned sideways. The window has stained glass. The outer two zones each has a deep open arched portal, the archivolt being molded and springing from tile imposts. Above the left hand portal is a clock face, and above the right hand one what looks like a compass face (why?). The window and portals all have pin balustrades which intrude into the attic plinth.

Kiosks Edit

The outer zones each have an ornate crowning kiosk, which looks like a campanile but presumably has never had bells. Each is on a square plan, with an arched opening in each face of the same size and form as the portal below in the second storey. The corners each have a pair of blind pilasters, ending in strap corbels which support an entablature. Over the entablature on each side is a triangular pediment.

On top of each kiosk is a little octagonal dome, the diagonal sides of the octagon being shorter. This has a low drum and then a fairly tall dome in grey fish-scale tiles. A ball-and-cross finial crowns the composition.

Interior Edit

The writer has not visited, but apparently the interior is a neo-Baroque design of high quality. A picture online in 2017 is here.

External chapels Edit

The university chaplaincy also has two separate external chapels, in rooms on the second and third floors of the Policlinico, which share in the rota of Masses.

The altar in the one on the third floor is dedicated to San Giuseppe Moscati. He was a holy medical doctor in Naples, who died in 1927.

Liturgy Edit

Church Edit

Mass is celebrated (university website, July 2018):

Weekdays 8:00 (not Saturdays);

Sundays and Solemnities 12:00, 19:00.

Cappella del II piano del Policlinico Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 6:00, 7:00, 17:00;

Sundays and Solemnities 7:15, 11:00, 17:00.

Cappella del III piano del Policlinico “San Giuseppe Moscati” Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Mondays to Fridays (only) 13:05.

There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 6:30 to 8:30, Mondays to Fridays only.

External links Edit

Italian Wikipedia page

University website

Info.roma web-page (contains errors)

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