Sunday, December 22, 2019


Via di S. Stefano Rotondo 7

About 470/480 for Pope Simplicius (468/483) on the area of the barracks of the provincial auxiliary soldiers known as CASTRA PEREGRINA built in about 160 AD

It is the oldest circular church in Rome

Innocent II Papareschi (1130/1143) added the five-arched portico and the interior triple arch

1453 restoration for Pope Nicholas V Parentucelli (1447/55) by Bernardo Rossellino (1409/64) who consolidated the roof and removed the external ambulatory and three of the four arms of the original plan

It has the same dimensions of the rotunda of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem

It was the seat of the Collegium Hungaricum, founded in 1579, joined in 1580 with the Collegium Germanicum, which had been founded in 1552

So in 1580 the GERMANIC-HUNGARIAN COLLEGE was founded, to form priests who would contribute to the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Even today the church is the property of the College

It is the Hungarian National Church

Thirty-four ancient columns taken from Roman buildings

“The latest research has shown that the original building was built as a succession of open and covered spaces, creating a play of light and shadow as well as tall and lower structures which culminated in the central drum. Once the Renaissance floor of the areas in the northeast and southwest was removed, the remains of the ancient floor of the fifth century were found, consisting of sheets of cipollino (onion-like) marble, 90 cm. wide, flanked by smaller sheets: this has allowed us to reconstruct the original design of the floor probably made out of squares intersected diagonally. (...) Within the building were also found remains of opus sectile (inlaid marble) of fine marbles and, in the walls, rows of holes for pins and hooks which used to hold the marble slabs on the walls, confirming the drawings of the interior the church made ​​by Baldassare Peruzzi at the beginning of the sixteenth century” (Romena Brugnerotto -

Thirty painted panels with “Martyrology” 1582/83 by Niccolò Circignani aka Pomarancio (about 1520/98), who painted twenty-four panels, Antonio Tempesta (about 1555/1630) and assistants
Some panels were repainted in the nineteenth century
They were useful to psychologically prepare young Jesuits who were about to go with a false identity in Protestant countries to secretly regain Christians to the Catholic Church

“This is the richest and best moment of Circignani's career. To the generic influence of Michelangelo, an easy and eclectic capacity of assimilation of the most important trends of the late Roman Mannerism was gradually added: from Muziano to the Zuccari's, even Barocci albeit only in part. One can detect the trend towards a clearer simplification of the artificial and fragmented representation of the Mannerist style and the search for a more unified and monumental compositional vision” (Michele Cordaro - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

On the left against a pillar “Episcopal Seat of St. Gregory the Great” marble chair of the imperial period of ancient Rome

Dedicated, among others, to the Hungarian saints of the Árpád royal family: St. Stephen the first King of Hungary (about 1001/38), St. Emeric (XI century), crown prince and son of St. Stephen, and King Ladislaus (1077/95)

The relics of St. Felician were transferred here in about 647 at the behest of Theodore I (642/649)
In the apse mosaic “Christ on a jeweled cross, not crucified, between Sts. Primus and Felician” of the seventh century
It strikes a contrast, in not representing the crucifixion, with the cruelty of the frescoes on the walls

Sepulcher of the beginning of the sixteenth century

Mithraeum of the second or third century with decorative faux marble inlay decorations. It was part of the Castra Peregrina

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