Ognissanti is an early 20th century parish, convent and titular church at Via Appia Nuova 244, in the Appio Latino quarter just south-east of the Re di Roma metro station. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is to All Saints.

Disambiguation Edit

Don't confuse this church with All Saints, which is not Catholic but Anglican Protestant.

History Edit

The parish was established in 1919, and given into the care of the Orionini (Piccola Opera della Divina Provvidenza). The Generalate (headquarters) of the congregation was established here, on the initiative of the founder St Luigi Orione and his friend Pope St Pius X.

The church was designed in a neo-Romanesque style by Costantino Schneider. Much of his inspiration came from the great churches of northern Europe about the year 1100. The foundation stone was laid in 1914, but unfortunately the First World War delayed construction and the consecration was in 1920.

The church was made titular as a diaconate in 1969. The present cardinal priest is Walter Kasper, who received the promotion of deacon to priest pro hac vice in 2011 (the church remains a diaconate).


Layout and fabric Edit

The edifice has the plan of a Latin cross, inserted within a U. The nave with side aisles has three structural bays, and there follows a transept of the same width. Then comes a single-bay sanctuary flanked by a pair of side chapels, and finally a semi-circular apse of the same width and height as the sanctuary.

There is a tower campanile attached to the left hand side of the nave just before the transept, and a single-storey sacristy wing is wrapped around the apse.

The main block of the convent is on the street to the right of the façade. There used to be another block to the left of the sacristy wing, but this was demolished for the Teatro Orione.

The walls are in blank red brick, with some architectural details in limestone (mostly on the façade).

A good view may be had of the right hand side elevation of the church from the Via Tortona. The aisle frontage has a high plinth, the lower half of which is in limestone, and on this stand two pairs of blind brick pilasters with two singletons at the ends. These support a mutated brick entablature, with a dentillated roofline cornice but no architrave. Instead, the lower edge of the frieze is decorated with little floating arches springing from tiny stone corbels, two between each pair of pilasters and eleven between the pairs.

The central nave wall has a roofline entablature of the same design, and this is carried along the transept and apse rooflines as well. Each bay of the nave wall has a row of three round-headed windows within an enormous slightly recessed round-headed panel, and a molded brick string-course follows the upper curves of these panels. The transept end walls have the same feature, and the transept side walls and sanctuary side walls have one round-headed window each.

The church has a single tiled main roof, which is double-pitched over the nave and sanctuary, has separate double pitches for the transept ends and continues on as three triangular sectors over the apse. The aisles have single pitches, and the sacristy wing is flat-roofed.

The sacristy block has its own three-bay frontage on the Via Tortona. Four blind brick pilasters support another arcaded entablature, with six little arches in each bay. The central bay has a round-headed window, and the two other bays have a round window each. There is an entrance in the right hand end.

Campanile Edit

The campanile is not easy to see. It has four storeys. The first is blank brickwork, and the second has two large vertical rectangular recessed panels on each face. The third and fourth each have an arcade of three arches in each face, separated by thin limestone columns with exaggerated imposts. The arcades in the third storey are within slightly recessed round-headed panels which contain a recessed cross motif in the brickwork above the arcade.

There is a low tiled pyramidal cap, with more pendant arches in its entablature which also has stone modillions in its cornice.

Façade Edit

The façade has two storeys. The central nave frontage of the first storey is in blank brick on a stone plinth, and is dominated by the ornate stone central doorway. The doorcase has molded sides, and a blank recessed panel over its lintel (was a dedicatory inscription intended?). Over this is a cornice with modillions, which supports a very wide archivolt with several concentric molding arcs. The inner one is wide and dished, contains coffers with rosettes, and springs from two inwardly facing diagonal panels flanking the door. The outer moldings of the archivolt spring from two pairs of Corinthian semi-columns. The tympanum contains a relief of Our Lady with Angels.

The second storey has an arcade of three arched windows with their lintels on the entablature dividing the storeys. The simply molded archivolts are supported by Corinthian columns, and in addition each window has a stone frame. These windows are sheltered by a molded stone string-course which forms a large semi-circular arc above them. Within this arc and above the windows is the coat-of-arms of Pope St Pius X. Above the arc is a stone cross on a circle just below the gable roofline, which has the same decorative pendant-arched roofline entablature as the rest of the church

The two aisle entrances are similar to the main one but smaller and simpler, having one pair of semi-columns each which flank a pair of quarter-columns. The tympani are carved with one angel each. The aisle rooflines are single-sloped, with pendant arched entablatures.


Nave Edit

The aisled nave has three bays, but each bay is divided into two sub-bays by the arcade arrangements. The main structural supports are square piers separating the bays, which have tall Corinthian limestone semi-columns applied to their inner faces. These support the springers for a ribbed cross-vault over the central nave, and have thin pilaster strips on each side causing the capitals to be tripletted.

In between each pair of these piers, each bay has two arcade arches supported by a fully round red granite Corinthian column and two semi-columns. The intradoses of the archivolts have rosettes, and the archivolts themselves are simply molded in dark grey. The rest of the walling is mostly in creamy white.

There is no interior entablature above the arcades. Instead, each bay has a row of three round-headed windows on each side. These windows contain stained glass depicting saints.

The counterfaçade also has a row of three round-headed windows, and this set contains stained glass depicting Pope St Pius X and St Luigi Orione venerating Our Lady.

The aisles are cross-vaulted as well. There is a sculptured marble Pietà in the right hand aisle, which was donated by Pope St Pius X.

Transept and sanctuary Edit

The transept ends each have three more windows, with one more in each side. The transept side walls match the sanctuary ones, so two more windows are in the latter. All of these have saints depicted in stained glass.

The far side wall of each transept has a single arch in the same style as those of the nave, and this arch is matched by one in the sanctuary side wall. The archivolts are supported by granite semi-columns. The square corner piers have limestone semi-columns applied to support the transept and sanctuary vaulting, in the same way as occurs in the nave.

These two arches on each side of the sanctuary open into a side chapel with a square plan and a single cross-vault.

The apse has an ambulatory with arcades supported on granite columns, and this contains the church organ. Above, the apse wall and conch are covered by a spectacular mosaic depicting The Trinity with the Saints in Glory, by Silvio Galimberti 1920.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated (according to the Diocese, July 2018):

Weekdays 7:00, 8:30, 10:30 and 18:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, 11:15, 12:30, 17:00, 18:30.

The number of Masses is liable to be reduced in summer.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website (gone 404, July 2018)

Info.roma web-page

"Stileeletticoromano" blog page

Orionini website

Roman Despatches blog with gallery

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