San Giorgio in Velabro


San Giorgio in Velabro is a
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used to refer to the physical build ...
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...

Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the . Italy is located in the centre of th ...

, devoted to
St. George Saint George ( Greek: Γεώργιος; died 23 April 303), also George of Lydda, was a Christian who is venerated as a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, l ...
. The church is located next to the
Arch of Janus Image:Arch of Janus.jpg, 250px, The so-called Arch of Janus was not actually dedicated to that Roman mythology, Roman god; it is the only surviving ancient Tetrapylon, quadrifrons triumphal arch in Rome. The Arch of Janus is the only Tetrapylon, qu ...

Arch of Janus
in the
rione A (; plural: ) is a neighbourhood in several Italian cities. A is a territorial subdivision. The larger administrative subdivisions in Rome are the , with the being used only in the historic centre. The word derives from the Latin , the 14 subd ...
Ripa Ripa or RIPA may refer to: Places * Ripa (rione of Rome) Ripa is the 12th '' rione'' of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Ro ...
in the ancient Roman
VelabrumThe Velabrum is the low valley in the city of Rome that connects the Roman Forum, Forum with the Forum Boarium, and the Capitoline Hill with the western slope of the Palatine Hill. It was believed that before the construction of the Cloaca Maxima, wh ...

. According to the founding legend of Rome, the church was built where Roman history began: it is here that the
Romulus and Remus 350px, Altar to Mars (divine father of Romulus and Remus) and Venus (their divine ancestress) depicting elements of their legend. Tiberinus, the Father of the Tiber and the infant twins being suckled by a she-wolf in the Ostia, now at the Na ...

Romulus and Remus
. The ancient ''
Arcus ArgentariorumImage:4893ArchofSilver.jpg, The ''Arcus Argentariorum'', leaning on the right to the basilica of San Giorgio al Velabro, was dedicated by the Roman money-changers to the Severan dynasty. The Arcus Argentariorum (Latin: ''Arch of the Money-Changers' ...
'' is attached to the side of the church's façade. San Giorgio in Velabro is the
station church Station days were days of fasting in the early Christian Church, associated with a procession to certain prescribed churches in Rome, where the Mass (Catholic Church), Mass and Vespers would be celebrated to mark important days of the liturgical ye ...
for the first Thursday in
Lent Lent (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...



The first religious building attested in the place of the current basilica is a
diaconiaA diaconia was originally an establishment built near a church building, for the care of the poor and distribution of the church's charity in medieval Rome or Naples (the successor to the Roman grain supply system, often standing on the very sites of ...
, funded by
Pope Gregory the Great Pope Gregory I ( la, Gregorius I; – 12 March 604), commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally ent ...

Pope Gregory the Great
. The current church was built during the 7th century, possibly by
Pope Leo II Pope Leo II (611 – 28 June 683) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Ca ...

Pope Leo II
, who dedicated it to
Saint Sebastian Saint Sebastian () was an early Christianity, Christian saint and martyr. According to traditional belief, he was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He was initially tied to a post or tree and shot with arrow ...

Saint Sebastian
. A 482 inscription in the catacombs of St. Callixtus probably refers of a church in the same zone. Its plan is irregular, indeed slightly trapezoidal, as a result of the frequent additions to the building. As can be seen from the lower photograph, the interior columns are almost randomly arranged having been taken from sundry Roman temples. The church was inside the Greek quarter of Rome, where Greek-speaking merchants, civil and military officers and monks of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...

Byzantine Empire
lived — the nearby
Santa Maria in Cosmedin The Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin ( it, Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin or ''de Schola Graeca'') is a minor basilica In the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of C ...

Santa Maria in Cosmedin
, for example, was known as ''in Schola Graeca'' at the time.
Pope Zachary Pope Zachary ( la, Zacharias; 679 – March 752) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversigh ...

Pope Zachary
(741-752), who was of Greek origin, moved the relic of St. George to here from
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; tr, Kapadokya, grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
, so that this saint had a church dedicated in the West well before the spreading of his worship with the return of the
Crusaders The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

from the East. After a restoration of
Pope Gregory IV Pope Gregory IV ( la, Gregorius IV; died 25 January 844) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and ov ...

Pope Gregory IV
(9th century), the church received the addition of the portico and of the tower bell in the first half of the 13th century. The apsis was decorated with frescoes by
Pietro Cavallini 300px, The ''Annunciation'', Santa Maria in Trastevere Pietro Cavallini (1259 – c. 1330) was an Italian painter and mosaic designer working during the late Middle Ages. Biography Little is known about his biography, though it is known he was fr ...
in the 13th century. In 1347, the Roman patriot
Cola Di Rienzo Nicola Gabrini (1313 8 October 1354), commonly known as Cola di Rienzo () or Rienzi, was an Italian medieval politician and popular leader, who styled himself as "". For his rhetoric, popular appeal and (as nobility) sentiment, some sources c ...

Cola Di Rienzo
posted a manifesto announcing the liberation of Rome on the doors of this church. Between 1923 and 1926, the
Superintendent of Monuments of Rome Superintendent may refer to: *Superintendent (police), Superintendent of Police (SP), or Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), a police rank *Prison warden or Superintendent, a prison administrator *Superintendent (ecclesiastical), a church execu ...
, Antonio Muñoz, completed a more radical restoration programme, with the aim of restoring the building's "medieval character" and freeing it from later additions. This was done by returning the floor to its original level (and so exposing the column bases) reopening the ancient windows that gave light to the central nave, restoring the apsis, and generally removing numerous accretions from the other most recent restorations. During this process, fragments (now displayed on the internal walls) were found indicating a ''schola cantorum (papal choir), schola cantorum'' on the site, attributed to the period of Pope Gregory IV, Gregory IV. The building as we see it today is largely a product of the 1920s restoration. However, five years' further restoration followed the explosion of a car bomb, parked close to the facade, at midnight on 27 July 1993. That explosion caused no fatalities but left the 12th century portico almost totally collapsed and blew a large opening into the wall of the main church, as well as doing serious damage to the residence of the Generalate of the Crosiers (Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross) next door. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage researched and catalogued what was damaged or destroyed, placing the fragments in 1050 crates with dates and locational references before restoring the building with them, although some details, particularly in the portico, were deliberately left unrestored as a memorial to the bombing.


The church was established as a Deaconry by 590 A.D., the reign of Pope Gregory I. Among the previous Titular see, titulars are; *Roscemanno, O.S.B.Cas. (c. 1112 – c. 1128)) *Peter of Capua the Younger, Pietro Capuano iuniore (1219–1236) *Giacomo Stefaneschi (1295–1341) *Oddone Colonna (1405–1417), later Pope Martin V. *Raffaele Riario (1477–1480) *Giovanni Antonio Serbelloni (1560–1565) *John Henry Newman (1879–1890) *Cardinal (Catholic Church), Cardinal Alfons Maria Stickler (titular) until his death in 2007 Since November 2010, Gianfranco Ravasi has been Cardinal-Deacon of the church.



* Federico di San Pietro, ''Memorie istoriche del sacro tempio, o sia Diaconia di San Giorgio in Velabro'' (Roma: Paolo Giunchi 1791). * Antonio Muñoz, ''Il restauro della basilica di S. Giorgio al Velabro in Roma'' (Roma: Società editrice d'arte illustrata, 1926). * A. Giannettini and C. Venanzi, ''S. Giorgio al Velabro'' (Roma: Marietti, 1967). * Maria Grazia Gurco, "The Church of St. George in Velabrum in Rome: techniques of construction, materials and historical transformations," ''Proceedings of the First International Congress on Construction History'' (ed. Santiago Huerta) (Madrid 2003) Vol. 3, pp. 2009-2013.

External links

Sketch of S. Giorgio (ca. 1900)
*High-resolution 360° Panoramas and Images o
San Giorgio in Velabro , Art Atlas

See also

*St George's Church (disambiguation), for a list of other churches worldwide of the same name. {{DEFAULTSORT:San Giorgio In Velabro Titular churches, Giorgio 9th-century churches in Italy Churches of Rome (rione Ripa), Giorgio Velabro 9th-century establishments in Italy Religious buildings and structures completed in 847