Natività di Maria Santissima a Selva Candida is a mid 20th century convent chapel, formerly a parish church, at Via di Selva Candida 671. This is in the suburb of Selva Candida, west of the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale) and part of the Casalotti zone.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the aspect of her birthday.

The chapel is in the municipality of Rome, but the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.

History Edit

The chapel was built originally as the centre of worship of the parish of the same name, in the mid 20th century. The locality back then was almost entirely rural, but suburban development quickly followed and the little church was inadequate by the end of the century.

As a result, a bigger parish church was built in 2005, and dedicated to Santi Martiri di Selva Candida (the parish itself, however, kept the old dedication).

The redundant complex was acquired by the Suore Caldee Figlie di Maria Immacolata, which is a sisterhood of the Chaldean rite founded in Baghdad in 1922. The sisters run a hotel for pilgrims, the Casa di accoglienza Villagio San Giuseppe.

The former church is now a private chapel. It is accessible to hotel guests but not, apparently, used for public liturgies (the Chaldean Catholic Church has no public place of worship in Rome yet).

Exterior Edit

The chapel is part of a larger building to the left of the entrance gateway to the convent. The main edifice of the hotel is up the drive to the right.

The former parish complex comprises a single block on an irregular quadrilateral plan. The far corner angles are at ninety degrees, but the street frontage is skew and the left hand angle is acute.

The structure has no architectural interest. It stands over a crypt, and is divided into the former church proper and ancillary rooms by a longitudinal party wall. The former takes up the narrower left hand side, with sacristy space at the back behind the sanctuary. There are two separate flat roofs, that of the former church being higher.

The exterior is rendered in a pale orange (recently repainted from white), with projecting white roofline cornices each bearing a very short pitch of tiles. This actually conceals the parapet of the roof behind, which is lower.

The left hand wall of the church has five large vertical rectangular windows.

There is no façade as such. The near wall of the church, overlooking the street, has a rectangular stained-glass window depicting The Coronation of Our Lady. Above this, the parapet dips in two short slopes. The actual entrance is from an open internal porch occupying the lower right hand corner of the ancillary wing adjacent.

Interior Edit

The rather featureless interior is a single narrow rectangular space, entirely rendered in a pale beige. The stained glass windows to the left give some much needed colour. The ceiling is flat, and completely undecorated. The nave walls have a single dark brown string course, on which the plaques of the Stations of the Cross are fixed.

The string course stops short of the sanctuary, which is raised on two steps and paved in red marble. There is a tiny round-headed apse containing a large copy of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. To the right of the apse is a free-standing tabernacle with an interesting stylised sunrise in sculpted limestone.

External links Edit

Institute's website

Info.roma web-page

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