Churches of Rome

The facade of Santa Barbara dei Librari, one of the many churches of Rome, Italy.

There are more than 900 churches in Rome,[1] including some notable Roman Catholic Marian churches. Most, but not all, of these are Roman Catholic.

The first churches of Rome originated in places where Christians met. They were divided into three categories:

  1. the houses of private Roman citizens (people who hosted the meetings of Christians  also known as oratoria, oracula)
  2. the deaconries (places where charity distributions were given to the poor and placed under the control of a deacon; the greatest deaconries had many deacons, and one of them was elected archdeacon)
  3. other houses holding a titulus (known as domus ecclesia)


Pope Marcellus I (A.D. 306-308) is said to have recognized twenty five tituli in the City of Rome, quasi dioecesis.[2] It is known that in 336, Pope Julius I had set the number of presbyter cardinals to 28, so that for each day of the week, a different presbyter cardinal would say mass in one of the four major basilicas of Rome, St. Peter's, Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and Basilica of St. John Lateran.[3] In Stephan Kuttner's view,[4] "...the Roman cardinal priests and bishops were 'incardinated' for permanent (though limited) purposes into the patriarchal basilicas while remaining bound nonetheless to the churches of their original ordination."

Only the tituli were allowed to distribute sacraments. The most important priest in a titulus was given the name of Cardinal.[5] Pope Marcellus I (at the beginning of the 4th century) confirmed that the tituli were the only centres of administration in the Church. In AD 499, a synod held by Pope Symmachus listed all the presbyters participating, as well as the tituli who were present at that time:[6]

  1. Titulus Aemilianae (Santi Quattro Coronati)
  2. Titulus Anastasiae (Santa Anastasia)
  3. Titulus SS Apostolorum (Santi Apostoli)
  4. Titulus Byzantis or Vizantis (unknown, perhaps "Titulus Pammachii")
  5. Titulus S Caeciliae (Santa Cecilia in Trastevere)
  6. Titulus Clementis (San Clemente)
  7. Titulus Crescentianae (San Sisto Vecchio)
  8. Titulus Crysogoni (San Crisogono)
  9. Titulus Cyriaci (Uncertain; theories include Santa Maria Antiqua and Santa Maria in Domnica)
  10. Titulus Damasi (San Lorenzo in Damaso)
  11. Titulus Equitii (San Martino ai Monti)
  12. Titulus Eusebi (Sant'Eusebio)
  13. Titulus Fasciolae (Santi Nereo e Achilleo)
  14. Titulus Gaii (Santa Susanna)
  15. Titulus Iulii (Santa Maria in Trastevere, identical with Titulus Callixti)
  16. Titulus Lucinae (San Lorenzo in Lucina)
  17. Titulus Marcelli (San Marcello al Corso)
  18. Titulus Marci (San Marco)
  19. Titulus Matthaei (in Via Merulana, destroyed in 1810)
  20. Titulus Nicomedis (in Via Nomentana, destroyed)
  21. Titulus Pammachii (Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Rome))
  22. Titulus Praxedis (Santa Prassede)
  23. Titulus Priscae (Santa Prisca)
  24. Titulus Pudentis (Santa Pudenziana)
  25. Titulus Romani (unknown, perhaps either Santa Maria Antiqua or Santa Maria in Domnica; whichever, the "Titulus Cyriaci" was not)
  26. Titulus S Sabinae (Santa Sabina)
  27. Titulus Tigridae (uncertain, perhaps Santa Balbina)
  28. Titulus Vestinae (San Vitale)

"Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome"

In the time of Pope Alexander II (1061-1073) those priests who served at St. Peter's Basilica were referred to as the seven cardinals of S. Peter's: septem cardinalibus S. Petri.[7] The four basilicas had no cardinal, since they were under the direct supervision of the Pope. The Basilica of St. John Lateran was also the seat of the bishop of Rome. Traditionally, pilgrims were expected to visit all four basilicas, and San Lorenzo fuori le mura, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and San Sebastiano fuori le mura which constituted the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. In the Great Jubilee in 2000, the seventh church was instead Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore as appointed by Pope John Paul II.

Notable churches by construction time

This is a list of churches of Rome cited in Wikipedia articles or with related files on Wikimedia Commons.

The churches are grouped according to the time of their initial construction: the dates are those of the first record of each church. The reader, however, should not expect the current fabric of the buildings to reflect that age, since over the centuries most have undergone reconstruction. Almost all the churches will thus appear considerably more recent, and as a patchwork of periods and styles.

A number of interesting churches are now closed, it must be noted, except on special occasions, such as weddings. These include: Santa Balbina, Santi Nereo e Achilleo, San Cesareo in Palatio and Sant'Urbano.

4th century

5th century

6th century

7th century

8th century

9th century

10th century

11th century

12th century

13th century

14th century

15th century

16th century

17th century

18th century

19th century

20th century

21st century

See also


  1. Clarke, Stuardt. "The Churches of Rome: Major and Minor". Stuardt Clarkes Rome. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  2. Loomis, Louise Ropes (1916). The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis) I, to the Pontificate of Gregory I. Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 38. "...quasi dioecesis, propter baptismum et paenitentiam multorum qui convertebantur ex paganis et propter sepulturas martyrum ('like a diocese, for the sake of baptism and penance of many who were being converted from paganism and for the sake of burials of martyrs')." Mommsen, Theodor (1898). Gestorum pontificum romanorum. Monumenta Germaniae Historica,. Berlin: Apud Weidmannos. p. 43.
  3. Kuttner, pp. 148-149, attributes the change from 25 to 28 to the eighth century, following Klewitz, pp. 120, 151, 156-157.
  4. Kuttner, p. 150.
  5. The title 'cardinal', however, is not attested in authentic papal documents until the reign of Pope Stephen III (768-772): Kuttner, p. 149.
  6. Guruge, Anura (2010). The Next Pope. WOWNH, LLC. p. 83. ISBN 9780615353722.
  7. Kuttner, p. 152.
  8. Some scholars have identified the 3rd-century hall beneath the church as a meeting room for a Christian community. Others do not agree with this view, claiming there are no proofs of Christian use before the 6th century. Krautheimer, p. 115.


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