St. Stephen of the Abyssinians Church

Vatican, Vatican City State

St Stephen of the Abyssinians is a Roman 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 to survive the destruction of old St. Peter's basilica, and thus it is the oldest surviving church in Vatican City.

The church was, by tradition, built by Pope Leo I (ca. 400-461). It was rebuilt in 1159 under Pope Alexander III, who also built a monastery for Ethiopian monks next to it.

In 1479, Pope Sixtus IV restored the church and assigned it to the Coptic monks in the city. It was at this time that the name was changed to reflect that it was served by Ethiopians (Abyssinian). It was altered under Pope Gregory XI (1700-1721), and again in 1928.

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 church has a single nave with ancient columns along the sides. The most important work of art is a fresco of the Madonna with Child in the Roman style from the 15th century.

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Founded: 1159
Category: Religious sites in Vatican City State

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Geoffrey Munene (5 months ago)
Nice
Geoffrey Munene (5 months ago)
Nice
Maria Cangemi (13 months ago)
Lovely little church
Maria Cangemi (13 months ago)
Lovely little church
Rishabh Soni (2 years ago)
Nice
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