San Raffaele Arcangelo is a mid 20th century parish church at Via di San Raffaele 28, in the suburb of Trullo within the Portuense suburban district.

The dedication is to Raphael the Archangel.

History Edit

The ancestor of the parish was a curacy set up within the then parish of Santa Maria del Rosario di Pompei alla Magliana in 1941. The locality was being settled by refugees from Italian territories overseas who had been driven out by war. Their spiritual welfare was entrusted to the Roman province of the Friars Minor Capuchin, which set up a chapel in a large cellar.

The curacy was raised to the status of an independent parish in 1951, and handed over to the Emilia province of the friars in 1952. The project for a permanent church was inaugurated in the following year. The church was designed by Tullio Rossi , and completed in 1957. It was one of his last, in a very long career designing Roman churches.

The Capuchins withdrew in the Eighties and parish is now in the charge of diocesan clergy. The last two parish priests have been members of the “Priestly Fraternity of the Sons of the Cross” (Fraternità Sacerdotale dei Figli della Croce).

Exterior Edit

Layout Edit

This is a classically basilical church, very old-fashioned for its time. It has a central nave with aisles of seven bays, followed by a sanctuary the width of the central nave. This has a single bay, with an integral semi-circular apse. The sanctuary is flanked by a sacristy on the right hand side, and a tower campanile on the left.

The church stands on a crypt, and has an open loggia occupying the entire frontage.

The commodious parish premises, formerly conventual, are in two wings forming an L behind the church, with one wing abutting its far right hand side.

A little external baptistery on a square plan is attached to the right hand aisle at the second bay.

Fabric Edit

The fabric is presumably in brick, although it is invisible externally because the entire exterior is rendered. This has been repainted recently, and is now in a uniform pale orange colour.

The external aisle walls are blank, except for a little square window in each from the second to the sixth on the left hand side, but only from the third to the fifth on the right because of the baptistery and convent wing. The central nave walls each have their bays divided by blind pilasters, each pair of which flank a large round-headed shallow recess. The second to sixth bays on each side have these recesses containing smaller round-headed windows.

The sanctuary has a little round-headed window high up in the back curve of the apse.

The aisles have single-pitched tiled roofs, with molded stone cornices. The main roof, also in bright red tiles and with roofline cornices, is slightly lower than the gable of the façade. The sanctuary roof is lower still, with the apse covered in triangular pitches.

Campanile Edit

The square tower campanile has its lower part melding with the left hand aisle wall. Its main body is blank, except for two little square windows lighting the stairs. The bell-chamber is separated by a thin stone cornice, and has a large round-headed aperture on each side within a shallowly recessed rectangular panel. This panel is flanked by a pair of slits, each interrupted by a very short beam two-thirds of the way up. There is a tiled pyramidal cap.

Baptistery Edit

The cuboidal baptistery, on a square plan, has escaped the recent repainting and is in a dull red. It has a flat roof with lantern on the plan of a chamfered square, and this has a large square window in each of the four larger faces. The shallow metal cap has overhanging eaves.

Façade Edit

The façade is approached by a wide and monumental flight of steps flanked by balustrades, because of the crypt. Its entire width is occupied by an open loggia, which has five large arched portals in front and one in each side. These are supported by square piers in light grey, with thin white tile imposts. The roof is single-pitched, with a cornice again.

The interior of the loggia has a cross-vault in white, and this springs from shallow grey pilasters in the actual church frontage. There are three entrances, two rectangular ones for the aisles and a larger round-headed one for the central nave. The wall around the latter entrance, in between the pair of pilasters, is in a brighter orange hue than the pale orange used elsewhere.

This frontage also has a pair of round-headed niches containing statues of the Sacred Heart (right) and Our Lady of Lourdes (left).

The central nave frontage, above the loggia, is mostly blank wall. In the centre is a large round-headed recess, also painted a deeper and pinker orange than the rest of the wall. It contains a round-headed window with a white frame, and is flaked by a pair of odd vertical strip recesses also painted in the deeper orange. Above the main recess is a framed square panel containing the coat-of-arms of Pope Pius XII in mosaic.

Interior Edit

Nave Edit

The simple, cool interior is surprisingly attractive and welcoming.

The nave has arcades separating it from its aisles, and these spring from massive red marble columns. These do not have proper capitals, which would be Doric but are missing the bits between the astragal (the base molding) and the abacus (the square tile impost from which the archivolts spring).

The nave has a barrel vault, springing from a molded cornice. This cornice is interrupted by the round-headed windows in the central nave side walls, which bite into the vault in deep lunettes.

The little square side aisle windows are within square recesses, and the aisles are cross-vaulted. The outer vault springers meld with the aisle walls.

The overall decorative scheme is in pale yellow. The window frames and recesses are in deeper orange, and this is used to outline the arcade arches. The vault with its cornice is in white, as are the side aisle vaults. The floor is in polychrome marble, mostly grey-veined but with wide red transverse stripes bounded by narrower green ones.

The aisle columns are in red marble with thin slab capitals, but the interior is otherwise plain with cream-coloured walls.

Sanctuary Edit

The large triumphal arch is simple, with no pilasters or capitals. It is slightly proud of its wall, and is in yellow while the wall is in pale orange.

The sanctuary and its apse are in a brighter yellow, with a vault in white with little lunettes around its curve following the apse. There are two thin white pilasters running down from this on the apse wall.

The altarpiece is a traditional painted wooden crucifix.

Liturgy Edit

Church Edit

Mass is celebrated (parish website, July 2018):

Weekdays 7:30, 9:00, 18:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00, 11:30, 18:30.

External Mass centre Edit

The parish now celebrates Mass publicly at the convent chapel of Nostra Signora Madre della Misericordia a Monte Cucco, which is near the church although up a very long drive from the street.

This is on Sundays and Solemnities at 9:00.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Info.roma web-page of convent chapel

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