San Leonardo da Porto Maurizio is a 20th century Fascist-era parish and titular church with its postal address at Via Ludovico Antomelli 1, which is in the suburban zone of Acilia Sud to the south of the Via del Mare on the way to Ostia. Acilia train station is to the north-west. The postal address is of the convent, and the church's main entrance is round the corner on Piazza San Leonardo da Porto Maurizio.

The dedication is to St Leonard of Port Maurice , a famous Italian Franciscan home missionary who established the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum and who died in 1751.

History Edit

The parish has been administered by the Franciscan Friars Minor of the Roman province since its foundation in 1936.

The church was designed by Francesco Fornari, and completed in the same year.

It is regarded as the mother church of the suburb of Acilia, which began its development in the years before the First World War. The first inhabitants were displaced from areas in the Centro Storico being cleared for archaeological purposes. The patron saint is also the patron of the suburb.

The church became titular in 2016, when Sebastian Koto Khoarai was appointed as cardinal priest.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The church is in a stripped-down neo-Romanesque style, more familiar in Rome from the work of Tullio Rossi. However, this edifice is cheaper and simpler in layout than most of Rossi's

There is a single nave of six bays without aisles, and a sanctuary consisting of an external semi-circular apse. A wing of the convent attaches to the last two bays on the right hand side. On the left hand side, the second and fifth bays each have an apsidal external chapel. A small round baptistery stands on the right hand side near the entrance, linking with the church by means of a short passage into the first bay. The third bay on the same side has a side entrance with a gabled brick porch.

The fabric is in pink brick. Apart from the adjuncts mentioned above, the two side walls of each nave bay have identical designs. There is a tall dado in brick occupying the bottom four-sevenths of each side wall, having a large slightly recessed rectangular panel taking up most of the space in each bay section. The bays are separated by blind pilasters standing on this dado, and in between these the wall of each bay is rendered and painted dark red (which in 2015 was flaking badly). This wall surrounds a single tall round-headed window.

The baptistery has a low conical tiled roof, and a lantern with window slits. Otherwise, it is a blank brick cylinder.

Each of the two left hand side chapels has two round-headed windows, with two smaller ones tucked high up at the corners with the nave.

At the far corner of the nave to the left of the apse is a simple square brick tower campanile, with a pair of arched sound-holes on each side of the bell-chamber which stand on a thin stone string-course. There is a low tiled pyramidal cap.

The sanctuary is a blank brick semi-cylinder.

The roofs are all pitched and tiled, with the sanctuary and chapel apses in sectors.

Façade Edit

The piazza has an attractive little park in its centre, with mature trees (other Roman suburbs have turned their church piazzas into car parks). The church here stands away from the street, and the yard in front of it is laid with an inset tau-cross which is a symbol of the Franciscans. There is a flight of four steps to the entrance.

The façade has an attached enclosed narthex or portico, basically a large brick porch which is windowless and gabled. This has a projecting stone string course halfway up, and this is continued on the nave frontage behind on either side. The door-case is a white concrete arch, undecorated, and this is recessed within three stepped orders of tiles following the curve of the arch.

Above the door is a stone tablet bearing a dedicatory inscription, than a smaller tablet with a papal coat-of-arms, then a round window with a tile frame just below the gable.

There is a bronze statue of the patron saint on a plinth outside the narthex, to the left.

Interior Edit

The interior is very simply decorated, in white with an open truss roof.

The apse has a large fresco of the Crucifixion.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated (parish website, March 2019):

Weekdays 7:30 (not summer in the past), 18:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 (not summer in the past), 18:30.

External links Edit

(The church's online presence is poor.)

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

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