Nostra Signora di Coromoto is a later 20th century parish and titular church at Largo Nostra Signora di Coromoto 2 in the suburb of Colli Portuensi in the Gianicolense quarter. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.
The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The original proposed dedication was to have been to San Giovanni di Dio or St John of God, but it was changed in recognition of generous financial contributions from Venezuelans in order to build it. Our Lady of Coromoto is the patroness of Venezuela (here she is).
The cardinalate title is Nostra Signora di Coromoto e San Giovanni di Dio, but this is not the name of the church.
The parish was set up in 1964, and dedicated to St John of God. The dedication was changed formally in 1978, after the new church was completed in the same year. The edifice was designed by Massimo Battaglini.
The church was made titular as a diaconate in 1985, and the present cardinal deacon is Fernando Filoni. He was raised to the dignity of a cardinal bishop in 2018, but without a see.
The church is obviously a focus for the Venezuelan expatriate community in Rome, but does not have the status of a national church.
Layout and fabric Edit
The low building has a square plan, with the axis on the diagonal and the entrance door in one chamfered corner facing the street. The far right hand side has an attached block containing the sacristy.
The walls are in yellow brick, and no concrete elements seem to be visible. Is the brickwork load-bearing. These walls are mostly blank brickwork, but have vertical V-shaped embrasures containing the drainpipes. Each side has a vertical step consisting of a strip window with stained glass -you can see these facing you either side of the entrance. The walls also contain piers for supporting the roof. The main beams of the latter are over V-shaped vertical pilasters in the walls, which are the outer angles of the piers.
The flat laminated box-frame wooden roof is the dominant feature of the design. It has a very deep overhang, and eaves painted red. In the corner over the altar is a large skylight with four cupolas arranged in a square, so as to give diffused illumination to the altar.
The church does not have a site on a through street, but is located up a double drive which allows for one-way traffic and also parking.
The edifice is elevated above street level, although unfortunately it is overtopped by poor-quality apartment blocks located behind it. The revetting of the platform on which it stands is in pale grey concrete with the vertical shuttering marks showing, and this walling includes a long ramp for disabled access.
Because of the low elevation of the church, it has a minimal civic presence. To counteract this, an enormous cross made of two timber baulks has been erected on the patio in front of the entrance.
The chamfer of the entrance corner has its entire width taken up by the entrance door, the two leaves of which are in laminated and varnished wood. They close to reveal a cross design on their outer surfaces. Above, there is now an appliqué mural in a naïve interpretation of the traditional Byzantine iconography for Calvary. Our Lady and St John are shown venerating Christ Crucified, and to the sides are SS Peter and Paul. The identifying labels are in Greek.
When the wooden doors are open, they reveal a pair of glass screen doors on which are engraved a scene from the original apparition of Our Lady of Coromoto in 1651. She appeared to a chief of the Cospes nation of Native Americans, living near the city of Guanare, and told him to be baptized as a Christian. Her command is also engraved: Andate e fate battezzare.
The interior is dominated by the varnished wood roof, with rafters that run longitudinally and transversely rather than parallel to the church axes. The grey tile floor, however, shows a grid of white lines in a diaper pattern which echoes the plan of the church.
The shrine of Our Lady of Coromoto is over to the right of the nave.
The sanctuary is elevated on three steps, and is lit by a skylight orifice in the roof which contains two beams arranged in an X. Behind the altar is a set of cream-coloured free-standing screen walls fitted into the corner, the central one of which bears a traditional painted wooden crucifix.
The altar, lectern and the seating for the ministers (to the left) bear panels that look like parts of plutei or palaeochristian stone screens used in early churches. The font, to the right, has an unusual glass bowl.
Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website (July 2018):
Weekdays 8:00, 9:00, 18:00 (19:00 in DST);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00 (for children, not July or August), 11:00, 12:15 (for young people, not July or August), 18:00 (19:00 in DST).
The parish has a subsidiary church, San Francesco di Sales a Via Portuense.