San Crisogono, Rome
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St. Chrysogony (in English)
Sancti Crisogonii (in Latin)
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Titular church|
|Leadership||Andrew Yeom Soo-jung|
San Crisogono is a church in Rome (rione Trastevere) dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus. It was one of the tituli, the first parish churches of Rome, and was probably built in the 4th century under Pope Silvester I (314–335), rebuilt in the 12th century by John of Crema, and again by Giovanni Battista Soria, funded by Scipione Borghese, in the early 17th century.
The area beneath the sacristy was investigated by Fr. L. Manfredini and Fr. C. Piccolini in 1907. They found remains of the first church (see below). After they had made this discovery, the area was excavated and studied.
Art and architecture
The bell tower dates from the 12th century rebuilding. The interior of the church was rebuilt in the 1620s on the site of a 12th-century church. The 22 granite columns in the nave are reused antique columns. The floor is cosmatesque mosaic, but most of it is hidden by the pews. The confessio in the sanctuary area is from the 8th century. The high altar is from 1127, with a baldachino from (1627 or 1641) by G.B Soria.
The painting in the middle of the Baroque coffered ceiling is by Guercino, and depicts the Glory of Saint Chrysogonus. It is likely a copy of the original, which is thought to have been taken to London, but it is possible the one here is the original and the one in London is the copy.
On the left side of the nave is the shrine of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, buried here in the habit of a tertiary of the Trinitarians. Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837) was a Christian mystic beatified in 1920. Above the altar is a painting by Aronne Del Vecchio of the Trinitarian Saints in Glory. Visitors can view some of her other belongings in the adjacent monastery, where they are venerated as relics.
The monument at the left of the entrance, dedicated to Cardinal Giovanno Jacopo Millo was completed by Carlo Marchionni and Pietro Bracci. Along the right side of the nave are the remains of frescoes, including a Santa Francesca Romana and a Crucifixion, attributed to Paolo Guidotti and transferred from the Church of Saints Barbara and Catherine. The nave also displays a painting of Three Archangels by Giovanni da San Giovanni and a Trinity and Angels by Giacinto Gimignani, while the altar has a Guardian Angel by Ludovico Gimignani. The presbytery and ciborium (or baldachin), created by Soria, are surrounded by four alabaster columns. The apse has frescoes of the Life of Saint Crisogono (16th century) above a Madonna & Child with Saints Crisogono & James by the 12th century school of Pietro Cavallini. The presbytery vault is frescoed with a Virgin by Giuseppe Cesari.
The inscriptions found in San Crisogono, a valuable source illustrating the history of the church, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella.
Remains from the first church, possibly from the reign of Constantine I, and earlier Roman houses can be seen in the lower parts, reached by a staircase in the sacristy. The ruins are confusing, but you can easily find the apse of the old church and you can see the remains of the martyr's shrine in middle of the apse wall. The church had an uncommon form; rather than the normal basilical plan with a central nave and two aisles on the sides, it had a single nave.
On either side of the apse are rooms known as pastophoria, service rooms of a type uncommon in the West but normal in Eastern churches. The one on the right-hand side is thought to have been used as a diaconium, with functions resembling those of the sacristy in later churches. The other would then probably have been a protesis, where holy relics were kept.
A number of basins were found here during the excavations, including one cut into the south wall. As the plan is so atypical of early Roman churches, some believe that the structure originally had a different function, and the presence of the basins could mean that it was a fullonica, a laundry and dye-house. The area was a commercial district at the time, so this is quite likely. Others think that the basin in the south wall was made for baptism by immersion. As there were other basins too, it seems more likely that it was originally intended for a different use, but it may very well have been used as a baptismal font after the building had been consecrated as a church.
Several sarcophagi have been preserved here, some beautifully decorated.
Below the first church are remains of late Republican houses.
The shrine was for many centuries the national church of the Sardinians and the Corsicans resident in Rome. Starting with the 16th century, the Corsicans immigrated in the city settled in the Tiber Island and in that part of Trastevere liying between the Port of Ripa Grande and the church. In the interior are buried several commanders of the Guardia corsa, a militia analogue to the Swiss guard, which was active in Rome between the 15th and the 17th century.
The feast day of St Chrysogonus, 24 November, is also the dedication day of the church. Pilgrims and other faithful who attend Mass on this day receive a plenary indulgence.
List of Cardinal Priests of S. Crisogono
- Bernard degli Uberti (1097-1133), Bishop of Parma
- Berardo dei Marsi (1130-1136), Bishop of Avezzano
- Bernardo (1136-1138), Priest
- Guido Bellagi (1138-1158), Priest
- Ardicio Rivoltella (1158-1165), Priest
- Pietro (1173-1180), Meaux
- Bonadies de Bonadie (1186-1186), Priest
- Stephen Langton (1205-1228), Archbishop of Canterbury
- Robert Somercotes (1239-1241), Priest
- Raymond Le Roux (January 1325-November 1325), Protonotarius Apostolico
- Pierre Cyriac (20 September 1342 – 1351), Priest
- Guy de Boulogne (1351-1373), Archbishop of Lyon
- Corrado Caracciolo (12 June 1405 – 15 February 1411), Bishop of Mileto
- Antão Martins de Chavez (8 July 1440 – 6 July 1447), Bishop of Porto
- Antonio Cerdà i Lloscos (17 February 1448 – 12 September 1459), Archbishop of Modena
- Giacomo Ammannati-Piccolomini (8 January 1462 – 17 August 1477), Bishop of Pavia
- Girolamo Basso della Rovere (17 September 1479 – 31 August 1492), Bishop of Renacati
- Giovanni Battista Ferrari (5 January 1500 – 20 July 1502), Bishop of Modena
- Adriano di Castello (12 June 1503 – 5 July 1518), Bishop of Hereford
- Albrecht von Brandenburg (5 July 1518 – 5 January 1521), Bishop of Mainz
- Eberhard von Der Mark (5 January 1521 – 27 February 1538), Archbishop of Valencia
- Girolamo Aleandro (20 March 1538 – 1 February 1542), Archbishop of Brindisi-Oria
- Pietro Bembo (15 February 1542 – 17 October 1544), Bishop of Bergamo
- Uberto Gambara (17 October 1544 – 14 February 1549), Bishop of Tortona
- Jean du Bellay (25 February 1549 – 28 February 1550), Archbishop of Bourdeaux
- Antoine Sanguin de Meudon (28 February 1550 – 25 November 1559), Bishop of Limoges
- Cristoforo Madruzzo (16 January 1560 – 13 March 1560), Bishop of Brixen
- Jean Bertrand (13 March 1560 – 4 December 1560), Archbishop of Sens
- Charles II de Bourbon-Vendôme (15 January 1561 – 9 May 1590), Archbishop of Rouen
- Domenico Pinelli (14 January 1591 – 22 April 1602), Bishop of Fermo
- Camillo Borghese (22 April 1602 – 16 May 1605), Bishop of Montalcino
- Carlo Conti (1 June 1605 – 17 August 1605), Bishop of Ancona e Umana
- Scipione Caffarelli-Borghese (17 August 1605 – 2 October 1633), Archbishop of Bologna
- Pietro Maria Borghese (19 December 1633 – 15 June 1642), Priest
- Fausto Poli (31 August 1643 – 7 October 1653), Bishop of Orvieto
- Lorenzo Imperiali (23 March 1654 – 21 September 1673), Priest
- Giovanni Battista Spada (24 September 1673 – 23 January 1675), Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
- Carlo Pio di Savoia (28 January 1675 – 1 December 1681), Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
- Paluzzo Paluzzi Altieri degli Albertoni (1 December 1681 – 13 November 1684), Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Faith
- Guilio Spinola (13 November 1684 – 28 February 1689), Bishop of Lucca
- Fabrizio Spada (23 May 1689 – 30 April 1708), elevated to Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prassede
- Filippo Antonio Gualterio (30 April 1708 – 29 January 1724), elevated to Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
- Prospero Marefoschi (29 January 1725 – 19 November 1725), elevated to Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto
- Giulio Alberoni (20 September 1728 – 29 August 1740), elevated to Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina
- Sigismund von Kollonitsch (29 August 1740 – 12 April 1751)
- Giovanni Giacomo Millo (10 December 1753 – 16 November 1757)
- Giovanni Battista Rovero (2 August 1758 – 9 October 1766)
- Filippo Maria Pirelli (1 December 1766 – 10 January 1771)
- Francesco Maria Banditi (18 December 1775 – 27 January 1796)
- Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci (22 December 1853 – 20 February 1878), elevated to Papacy
- Friedrich Egon von Fürstenberg (27 February 1880 – 20 August 1892)
- Philipp Krementz (19 January 1893 – 6 May 1899)
- Francesco di Paola Cassetta (22 June 1899 – 27 March 1905), elevated to Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina
- Pietro Maffi (18 April 1907 – 17 March 1931)
- Theodor Innitzer (13 March 1933 – 9 October 1955)
- Antonio María Barbieri (15 December 1958 – 6 July 1979)
- Bernard Yago (2 February 1993 – 5 October 1997)
- Paul Shan Kuo-hsi (21 February 1998 – 22 August 2012)
- Andrew Yeom Soo-jung (2 February 2014 – Incumbent)
Media related to San Crisogono at Wikimedia Commons
- Cigola, Michela, "La basilica di s. Crisogono in Roma. Un rilievo critico", numero monografico del Bollettino del Centro di Studi per la Storia dell'Architettura, n. 35, Roma, dicembre 1989, link at