San Liborio is a late 20th century parish and titular church, the postal address of which is at Via Tino Buazzelli 70, south of the Via Nomentana in the Ponte Mammolo quarter. The main entrance is on Via Diego Fabbri. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.

St Liborius was a 4th century bishop of Le Mans in France, whose relics were transferred to Paderborn in Germany. The church has links with that city.

History[edit | edit source]

The parish was established in 1965, but had to wait for its permanent church. In its first two decades it was named Santa Maria della Purificazione, but in 1996 the dedication was changed in anticipation of the erection of a permanent church. This was built in 1998, in a completely new suburb in the north of a locality called Carcere di Rebibbia. The architect was Ennio Canino.

The parish is administered by the Apostolici Sodales, an institution of consecrated life.

The church was made titular in 2001. The present cardinal priest is Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson.

Exterior[edit | edit source]

The church was built in 1998 to a spectacular late Modernist design. The plan is based on a square, with a semi-circle cut out of each corner thus making a cross.

The edifice is low, with a flat roof having a large central section depressed. The coved cylindrical walls at each corner are in blank pink brick, with a white string course halfway up. This feature continues across the two side walls, which consist of twelve brick pilasters separated by window strips. There is a pair of large vertical rectangular windows at the outer corners of each side wall. The back of the church abuts onto ancillary accommodation.

The entrance façade, between the two coved cylindrical-sector walls, is in plate glass. It has a very deep floating concrete canopy, flanked by two tall steel cylinders topped by very tall spike-crosses. These are more than twice the height of the church itself, and dominate its skyline. The canopy has a slight transverse curve which faces upwards, and on its fascia is an Italian inscription which translates as "I am the door. Whoever enters by me will have life" (Io sono la porta. Se uno entra per mezzo mio avrà la vita).

The church is above the level of the street and is approached by stone steps in two flights, but there is a ramp to the left hand side for disabled access.

Interior[edit | edit source]

Nave[edit | edit source]

The incurved walls are clad in travertine slabs, forming a regular tessellated pattern made up of large squares, small squares and small rectangles. The two side end walls are each formed of a row of twelve travertine pilasters in the same style (obviously recalling the twelve Apostles), separated by window strips and with a larger window at each end.

The cross-shaped nave is dominated by a large, circular, low flat ceiling panel bearing a cross-circle motif of white on black depicting the flames of the Holy Spirit. This touches the near points of the tops of the incurved walls just mentioned, and is rather overpowering in its effect.

On the far right hand curved wall is an icon of the patron saint, St Liborius. In the background is depicted the distinctive tower of Paderborn Cathedral.

At the entrance is a traditional free-standing holy water stoup (acquasantiera) in grey-veined marble, with a hexagonal bowl on a hexagonal column. Above it on the wall is a striped travertine plaque with incurved chamfered corners -an attractive item- with a German tag: 1996 St Liborius, einig in der Hoffnung, Paderborn-Rom ("united in hope, Paderborn-Rome"). This is a witness to the parish's friendship connections with the German city.

Baptistery[edit | edit source]

The left hand cross arm is the baptistery, and the large square stone font is a spectacular modern design. It consists of a shallow basin with an ogee curve, on a very broad square base with five engaged pilasters mostly concealing the curve on each side. This last design feature is echoed by the end wall pilasters.

Icons of the Passion[edit | edit source]

The right hand end wall has a set of icons of the Passion, grouped together as one panel of fourteen icons. This work is by Jacob Kooroth, who is a Syro-Malabar monk from India. Here he has produced a superb set of fourteen icons in a strict, traditional Byzantine style, of the procession of Christ from The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane to The Discovery of the Empty Tomb. Four tondos containing The Four Evangelists are attached to the main frame.

Please note that this is not a set of the Stations of the Cross. You are either aware of the indulgence attached to the saying of the Stations, or you don't know what the fuss is about. If the former, be aware that the acquisition of the Indulgence depends on being able to walk between individual Stations, and that the subjects of the actual Stations are defined. Here some are added (which is permitted), but others are omitted (which is not).

Sanctuary[edit | edit source]

The free-standing altar is a single block of stone which is vase-shaped, having a certain resemblance to the font. The president's chair behind the altar has a roundel on the backrest, displaying the same motif as on the ceiling. These two items and the lectern or ambo were provided for the church by the firm Del Veccio Marmi. To the left of the chair is a large painted wooden crucifix in traditional style.

The sacristy is behind the sanctuary, and the wall at the far end is actually a wooden screen with pierced fretwork in squares.

Over the altar is a large horizontal rectangular blue stained-glass window, abstractly depicting the Crucifixion. It is in four large horizontal rectangular panels, separated by wide metal mullions forming the cross. The glass is in irregular horizontal strips of different shades of blue. In the left side of the lower right hand panel is a vague female figure which represents Our Lady.

Ferial chapel[edit | edit source]

The ferial chapel is used for weekday Masses, and is also the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. It is in the far left hand corner, behind the curved wall. The tabernacle consists of a stone column with a flared base, with the door at the top in gilded metal with a corrugated pattern.

The corresponding space on the right hand side of the sanctuary contains overflow seating for the congregation in the main church.

Liturgy[edit | edit source]

Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website:

Weekdays 8:00 with Lauds, 19:00 with Vespers (latter except Saturdays);

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 11:00, 19:00.

Rosary is at 18:30, except Sundays.

On Thursdays there is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for two periods, both followed by Benediction and the latter one by Compline also:

8:30 to 12:00, 19:30 to 21:00.

The Patronal Solemnity of St Liborius is on 23 July.

External links[edit | edit source]

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Institution's webpage

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