Friday, April 27, 2012

Nostra Signora di Czestochowa

I am "bird walking" around Rome this week, seeking out modern churches. My first journey took me to the Tor Sapienza Zone, about 12 km from the center of Rome. Here I found the Benedictine parish church of Nostra Signora di Czestochowa sitting in the middle of a busy intersection  It was designed in 1970-71 by Alberto and Gianfranco Tonelli.

The church is a trapezoid box that dominates the intersection. It seems to be floating above the roadways because the structure rests on an opaque-blue glass base. With the wide sliding doors open, the church almost invites the traffic to come inside.

It was disappointing to encounter a plump statue of Padre Pio
outside the door before I entered the church.

But when one does walk in off the street, the world changes. The interior is illuminated with natural light filtered through a band of windows near the coffered concrete ceiling. The eyes are drawn over the large altar table to the stained glass on the rear wall, framing the tabernacle.

The altar platform is positioned in a way way that is in the midst of the nave and the people who gather to celebrate the Eucharist.

The scale of the building and the furnishings are massive. One cannot reach across the altar.
The spherical baptismal font reminded me of the cauldron hanging in the fireplace of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house. 

There is a side chapel on the left side of the church
with an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

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