Rome Shot 86

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    San Girolamo della Carità?

  2. richdel says:

    Is that Our Lady Refuge of Sinners above the altar?

  3. Gab says:

    Doing a search, it appears to be Spada Chapel by Francesco Borromini in the Church of San Girolamo della Carità in Rome. Looking forward to ThePapalCount’s information about this chapel.

  4. ThePapalCount says:

    At first glance one might think that this is in FzZ’s apartment.
    But, no— it is the little church of St Girolamo found on an obscure street in the area of the Campo di Fiori in central Rome. Its a masterpiece of beauty and the Spada chapel especially so. In the photo what appears as tapestry is marble. The chapel was gifted by the Roman Spada family.
    To appreciate this rarely visited little church is to know that it is closely associated with St Philip Neri who lived in the middle 1500s. St Philip, who was greatly loved by the people of Rome, is known for his sense of humor and boundless joy. The love and life of God simply overflowed in his life and his saintly manner endeared him to many. Neri founded a small group of priests into a community of consecrated life called the Oratorians…or priests and brothers of the Oratory. (Oratory being a place of worship and prayer) The early community met here in this church (an oratory) until a larger church could be built nearby. St Philip directed the construction of a massive church, ornately decorated, dedicated to Mary. Romans called it the Chiesa Nuovo or “New Church” – because it was a new church. Well, the name stuck and even today its known as the Chiesa Nuova – the “New Church”. The community of the Oratory moved there and lived a common life but St Philip remained here in St Girolamo for sometime before moving into the New Church. So, this church is closely connected with the Oratory of St Philip Neri and the church includes many artistic pieces highlighting St Philip. The church is deeply cherished by St Philip’s religious community to this very day. The Chiesa Nuova of St Philip, where he is now entombed, is but a short walk away.
    The Oratory movement was successful in its growth throughout Italy, France, and in the 1800s, in England, where there are several Oratories of St Philip, most notably in Birmingham (long time home of St John Cardinal Newman – a priest of the Oratory) and London’s Brompton Oratory.
    So, this church which houses the Spada chapel seen above, is a beautiful little treasure on a Roman backstreet and on such streets there is always treasure to be found. If you are devoted to the wonderful St Philip Neri then this church as well as the Chiesa Nuova are musts to visit and spend time in prayer on any Roman trip. And in London visit the Brompton Oratory for High Mass Sunday morning and Benediction in the afternoon. The Brompton Oratory is near Harrod’s, the famous department store in Knightsbridge.

    [And, in the other direction, the V & A.]

  5. Gab says:

    @ThePapalCount, many thanks again for your entertaining information. Can you tell me please who are the two figures reclining on either side of the chapel?

  6. ThePapalCount says:

    @Gab I was in the chapel with a priest friend who wanted me to see the marble in the Spada chapel. He was anxious to show off the communion rail which appears to be cloth but is solid marble. But, even close up you can be fooled but certainly amazed at the artistic skill and genius at work here. the sculpting is exceptional. This chapel was a gift to the church by the wealthy Roman Spada family. The two recumbent figures are not saints(not canonized ones) but Spada family members reclining to admire the gift of this chapel they so generously donated to this little church. This is a very beautiful church overall.

  7. mamajen says:

    I can’t stop looking at this creative little space. There is so much to take in. I particularly like the altar rail. I also like the reclining figures, one of which appears to be looking up at the painting, the other at the crucifix maybe? It looks like the panels of “fabric” on either side of the altar are carved stone as well. Very cool.

  8. Gab says:

    Thank you, ThePapalCount!

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