St Stephen of the Abyssinians
|St Stephen of the Abyssinians
Santo Stefano degli Abissini
|Rite||Alexandrian Rite (Coptic)|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||National Church in Rome of Ethiopia|
|Groundbreaking||5th century |
|Length||35 metres (115 ft)|
|Width||20 metres (66 ft)|
|Width (nave)||10 metres (33 ft)|
St Stephen of the Abyssinians (Italian: Santo Stefano degli Abissini) is an Ethiopian Catholic church located in Vatican City. The church dedicated to Stephen the Protomartyr is the national church of Ethiopia. The liturgy is celebrated according to the Alexandrian rite of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. It is one of the only standing structures in the Vatican (besides the clementine chapel, niche of the pallia, the apostolic palace complex) to survive the destruction of old St. Peter's basilica, and thus it is the oldest surviving church (in terms of architectural history) in Vatican City.
It was rebuilt in 1159 under Pope Alexander III. No later than in the 15th century, Ethiopian pilgrims began living in the buildings adjacent to the church and formed a stable community that would endure until the 17th century.
The façade is in the style of the early 18th century. The 12th century doorway, decorated with the Lamb and the Cross, has been preserved.
The Feast of St. Stephen is celebrated on 26 December.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santo Stefano degli Abissini.|
- Touring Club Italiano (1999), Roma, S.L.: Touring Club Italiano, ISBN 88-365-1324-7
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (1983), The Vatican:spirit and art of Christian Rome, Malibu: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 151, ISBN 0-87099-348-8,
It is the oldest surviving church in the Vatican, for it dates back to Pope Leo the Great (440-461)
- Webb, Matilda (2001), The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome, Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, p. 36, ISBN 1-902210-57-3