Santa Maria Janua Coeli is a 20th century Fascist-era parish church with a postal address at Via Cornelia 89, in the suburb of Montespaccato which is just south-east of the junction of the Via di Boccea with the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale). The main entrance is on the Piazza Cornelia.
The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady, Gate of Heaven. ("Janua Coeli" is modern Latin, hence the "J" which Italian does not have. Neither does Classical Latin.)
The parish was erected in 1941, in the same year as the church was built. The architect was Tullio Rossi.
The administration was initially in the hands of diocesan clergy, but in 1962 was transferred to the Figli di Santa Maria Immacolata (Sons of Saint Mary Immaculate). They remain in charge.
Layout and fabric Edit
This is a typical work by the architect, based on a typically simplified neo-Romanesque design. It has a single nave of six bays, followed by a one-bay sanctuary with an attached apse. The latter is incorporated within the convent premises at the back of the church, and is not visible from outside.
The fabric is in brick, with some reinforced concrete used but not displayed. The exterior walls are all rendered in a pale ochre-yellow colour.
Unusually for a modern suburban church, the edifice has its right hand side wall immediately facing onto the street. Because there is a downward slope towards the sanctuary, the church stands on a concrete plinth of three steps which are visible from the street. The otherwise blank side wall has six round-headed windows with simple concrete frames in slight relief, in pale grey. The left hand side wall is of a similar design, except not exposed to view.
The pitched and tiled roof covers both nave and sanctuary.
A small bell-cote or campanile is on top of the left hand side of the near wall of a three-storey convent block behind the church. It has a single tall round-headed bell-aperture, and a flat tiled top.
The church has a very simple gabled façade, with a round window. This is over a three-arched lean-to porch occupying the width of the church, which has another arch at each end. These arches, except the central one, are glazed with the glazing bars in a wheat-sheaf pattern.
The simple, typically Rossi interior has white walls over a high wood-panelled dado and an open timber roof. The windows are without frames, but have good stained glass. Below the windows is a set of the Stations of the Cross in coloured majolica relief tablets.
The parish is rightly proud of its high-quality figurative stained glass, depicting scenes from the life of Christ in a very correct Byzantine iconic style. The round window in the counterfaçade shows Christ and the Twelve Apostles, and the nave side walls have The Annunciation, The Nativity, The Presentation in the Temple, The Baptism of Christ, The Transfiguration, The Entry Into Jerusalem, The Crucifixion, The Harrowing of Hell, The Resurrection, The Ascension, Pentecost and The Dormition of Our Lady.
The sanctuary has an unadorned triumphal arch. In contrast to the nave, it is barrel-vaulted and walls and vault are in a pinkish red. The vault has lunettes over the two side windows, and the dark red floor is raised on two steps. The wooden interior dado runs around the apse.
The apse has a conch, and is decorated with an impressive, brightly coloured mosaic in a realistic style which harks back to the Classic pictorial tradition. It shows three round-headed panels on a golden background, the central one depicting the Madonna and Child and the side ones the four Evangelists. Unusually, the latter are not given their traditional symbols. Below the depiction is a text in Italian, from the first few verses of the Gospel of St John.
The sanctuary also houses a large statue of the Sacred Heart.
The windows here have stained glass in an abstract pattern.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, July 2018):
Weekdays 7:00, 9:00, 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, 11:45, 18:30.
Rosary is recited daily at 17:30.