Santo Stefano al Monte Celio

Rome, Italy

The Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round on the Celian Hill (Basilica di Santo Stefano al Monte Celio), commonly named Santo Stefano Rotondo, is Hungary's 'national church' in Rome. It is dedicated to both Saint Stephen, the Christian first martyr, and Stephen I, the sanctified first king of Hungary who imposed Christianity on his subjects.

The earliest church was consecrated by Pope Simplicius between 468 and 483. It was dedicated to the protomartyr Saint Stephen, whose body had been discovered a few decades before in the Holy Land, and brought to Rome. The church was the first in Rome to have a circular plan, inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The church was embellished by Pope John I and Pope Felix IV in the 6th century with mosaics and colored marble. The church was restored in 1139-1143 by Pope Innocent II, who abandoned the outer ambulatory, and three of the four side chapels. He also had three transversal arches added to support the dome, enclosed the columns of the central ambulatory with brick to form the new outer wall, and walled up 14 of the windows in the drum.

In the Middle Ages, Santo Stefano Rotondo was in the charge of the Canons of San Giovanni in Laterano, but as time went on it fell into disrepair. In 1454, Pope Nicholas V entrusted the ruined church to the Pauline Fathers, the only Catholic Order founded by Hungarians.

Interior

The altar was made by the Florentine artist Bernardo Rossellino in the 15th century. The painting in the apse shows Christ between two martyrs. An ancient chair of Pope Gregory the Great from around 580 AD is preserved here.

The Chapel of Ss. Primo e Feliciano has very interesting and rare mosaics from the 7th century. 

The Hungarian chapel is dedicated to King Stephen I of Hungary, Szent István, the canonized first king of the Magyars. The frescoes of the chapel were painted in 1776 but older paintings were recently discovered under them.

Mithraeum

Under the church there is a 2nd-century mithraeum, related to the presence of the barracks of Roman soldiers in the neighbourhood. The cult of Mithras was especially popular among soldiers. A coloured marble bas-relief from the 3rd century is today in the Museo Nazionale Romano.

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Details

Founded: 468-483
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Felipe Santarelli (2 months ago)
Basilica located on the Cellian Hill. Construction started on 5th century. It's the first church in Rome to have circular plan. There is a 2nd-century mithraeum under the church. This is related to presence of barracks of Roman soldier nearby.
Iman Traveler (3 months ago)
Wonderful jewel of history of Architecture. From 5th century A.D IT IS SO CLOSE TO COLOSSEUM. Many frescos with subject of christian martyrs. Dont keace without admure the 13th century mosaics and an ancient chair of Pope Gregory the Great from around 580 AD just left side of the entrance of the church. Enjoy your visit
Helio Ramos (3 months ago)
Wonderful display of Catholic frescoes!
Aga Wu (4 months ago)
Very interesting Church A bit outside of the mail tourist atraction
dylayla Noreth quintero (10 months ago)
near the ruins of the Neronian aqueduct there is one of the oldest circular churches of the fifth century where frescoes of the martyrology are preserved, 34 panels frescoed by Pomarancio, Antonio Tempesta and aids, some paintings belong to the period of the nineteenth century. Immediately to the left, against a pillar, an episcopal seat known as San Gregorio Magnio, a marble chair from the imperial period to which the armrests and the dosale were chiseled. Archaeological excavations have revealed the presence, under the church, of a Mithraeum of the II-III century, which preserves part of the rich fake decoration. marble inlays, and the Castra Peregrina, barracks of the provincial auxiliaries. près des ruines de l'aqueduc néronien se trouve l'une des plus anciennes églises circulaires du cinquième siècle où sont conservées des fresques du martyrologe, 34 panneaux peints à fresque par Pomarancio, Antonio Tempesta et des aides, certaines peintures appartiennent à la période du XIXe siècle. Immédiatement à gauche, contre un pilier, un siège épiscopal connu sous le nom de San Gregorio Magnio, une chaise en marbre de la période impériale à laquelle les accoudoirs et la dosale étaient ciselés. Des fouilles archéologiques ont révélé la présence, sous l'église, d'un Mithraeum du II-III siècle, qui conserve une partie du riche faux décor. des incrustations de marbre et la Castra Peregrina, caserne des auxiliaires de province. Cerca de las ruinas del acueducto neroniano hay una de las iglesias circulares más antiguas del siglo V, donde se conservan frescos de la martirología, 34 paneles pintados al fresco por Pomarancio, Antonio Tempesta y ayudas, algunas pinturas pertenecen al período del siglo XIX. Inmediatamente a la izquierda, contra un pilar, un asiento episcopal conocido como San Gregorio Magnio, una silla de mármol del período imperial en la que se cincelaron los reposabrazos y el dosale. Las excavaciones arqueológicas han revelado la presencia, debajo de la iglesia, de un Mithraeum del siglo II-III, que conserva parte de la rica decoración falsa. incrustaciones de mármol, y la Castra Peregrina, cuarteles de los auxiliares provinciales. vicino alle rovine del acquedotto neroniano si nasconde una delle chiese piú antiche del V secolo a pianta circolare dove si preservano affreschi del martirologio, 34 riquadri affrescati dal Pomarancio, da Antonio Tempesta e da aiuti, alcuni dipinti apartengono al periodo del ottocento. Subito a sinistra, contro un pilastro, seggio episcopale detto si San Gregorio Magnio, sedia marmorea del periodo imperiale alla quale vennero scalpellati i braccioli e il dosale. Scavi archeologici hanno rilevato la presenza, sotto la chiesa, di un Mitreo del secolo II-III, che conserva parte della ricca decorazione a finte. tarsie in marmo, e dei Castra Peregrina, caserma degli ausiliari provinciali.
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