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The Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola at Campus Martius ( , ) is Roman Catholic titular church dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, located in Romemarker, Italymarker. Built in Baroque style between 1626 and 1650, the church functioned originally as Rectory church to the adjacent Collegio Romanomarker, that moved in 1584 to a new larger building and became the Pontifical Gregorian Universitymarker. The Cardinal Deacon of the Titulus S. Ignatii de Loyola in Campo Martio is Roberto Cardinal Tucci.


The Collegio Romanomarker opened very humbly in 1551, with an inscription over the door summing up its simple purpose: "School of Grammar, Humanity, and Christian Doctrine. Free". Plagued by financial problems in the early years, the Collegio Romano had various provisional centres. In 1560, Vittoria della Tolfa, della Valle, donated her family isola, an entire city block and its existing buildings, to the Society of Jesus in memory of her late husband the Marchese della Guardia Camillo Orsini, founding the Collegio Romanomarker. She had intended to donate it previously to the Order of Poor Ladies to found a minor nunnery . This order had already started to build what had been intended to become the church of Santa Maria della Nunziata , erected on the spot where the Temple of Isis had stood in Imperial Rome.

Although the Jesuits got the Marchesa's land, they did not get any money from her for completing the church. Budgetary restraints compelled them to hire their own architect. Construction of the church was taken over by the Jesuit architect Giovanni Tristano. Built entirely by Jesuit labour, the church of the Most Holy Annunciation was first used for worship in 1567. A three-aisled church dedicated to the Most Holy Annunciation ( ) was built in the Collegio Romanomarker between 1562 and 1567 on the foundations of the pre-existing construction. Since the earlier church had already been built to the height of the ground floor in 1555, there was no way for the Jesuits to expand the structure to hold the increasing number of students attending the Collegio Romano. The facade was very similar to that of the contemporary Church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinalemarker, which was also designed by Giovanni Tristano. In accordance with the wishes of the Marchesa, the façade proudly displayed the Orsini arms. The Church of the Most Holy Annunciation was enlarged in 1580 when Pope Gregory XIII expanded the Collegio Romano itself, especially the side chapels.

The old church became insufficient for over two thousand students of many nations who were attending the College at the beginning of the XVII century . Pope Gregory XV, who was an old pupil of the Collegio Romanomarker, was strongly attached to the Church. Following the canonization Saint Ignatius of Loyola in 1622, he suggested to his nephew, Ludovico Cardinal Ludovisi, that a new church should be erected to the founder of the Society of Jesus, at the College itself. The young cardinal accepted the idea, asked several architects to draw plans, among which Carlo Maderno. Ludovisi finally chose that of the Jesuit mathematician Orazio Grassi, professor at the Collegio Romano itself.

The foundation stone was laid only on August 2, 1626, four years later, a delay which was caused by the fact that a section of the buildings belonging to the Roman College had to be dismantled. The old church was eventually demolished in 1650 to make way for the massive Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, which was begun in 1626 and finished only at the end of the century. In striking contrast to the Church of the Most Holy Annunciation, which occupied only a small section of the Collegio Romano, the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola took up a quarter of the entire block when it was completed.

The church was opened for public worship only in 1650, at the occasion of the Jubilee of 1650. The final solemn consecration of the church was celebrated only in 1722 by Antonfelice Cardinal Zondadari. The church's entrance now faces on to the Rococo Place of San Ignazio was planned by the architect Filippo Raguzzini.


The church has a Latin cross plan with numerous side chapels. The building was inspired by the Jesuit mother church, the Church of the Gesùmarker in Rome (finished in the late 16th century). The imposing order of Corinthian pilasters that rings the entire interior, the theatrical focus on the high altar at the rear of the broad eastern apse, the church's colored marbles, animated stucco figural relief, richly ornamented altars, extensive gilding, and bold Tromp l’oeil paintings in the "dome" at its crossing and in the nave ceiling all produce a festive, sumptuous effect. The church stages the triumph of its dedicatee most effectively.

The nave's west wall has a sculptural group showing Magnificence and Religion (1650) by Alessandro Algardi. Algardi also helped design the high reliefs in stucco that run on both lateral nave walls just above the entries to the chapels and beneath the nave's grandiose entablature.

Other artworks in the church include a huge statue of St. Ignatius, in stucco, by Camillo Rusconi (1728) and the glass coffin of, and portrait of Cardinal Bellarmino within. (Bellarmino died in 1621).

The "Dome" of Sant'Ignazio, looking like a real dome from this vantage point.
The trompe l'œil ceiling of Sant'Ignazio.

Frescoes of Andrea Pozzo

Andrea Pozzo, a Jesuit brother, painted the grandiose fresco that stretches across the nave ceiling (after 1685). It celebrates the work of Saint Ignatius and the Society of Jesus in the world presenting the saint welcomed into paradise by Christ and the Virgin Mary and surrounded by allegorical representations of all four continents. Pozzo worked to open up, even dissolve the actual surface of the nave's barrel vault illusionistically, arranging a perspectival projection to make an observer see a huge and lofty cupola (of a sort), open to the bright sky, and filled with upward floating figures. A marble disk set into the middle of the nave floor marks the ideal spot from which observers might fully experience the illusion. A second marker in the nave floor further east provides the ideal vantage point for the trompe l'oeil painting on canvas that covers the crossing and depicts a tall, ribbed and coffered dome. The cupola one expects to see here was never built and in its place,in 1685, Andrea Pozzo supplied a painting on canvas with a perspectival projection of a cupola. Destroyed in 1891, the painting was subsequently replaced. Pozzo also frescoed the pendentives in the crossing decorating each with an Old Testament figure—Judith, David, Samson, and Jaele.

Again by Pozzo, the frescoes in the eastern apse present the life and apotheosis of St. Ignatius. The Siege of Pamplona in the tall panel on the left commemorates the wounding of St. Ignatius, which led to the convalescence that transformed his life. The panel over the high altar with The Vision of St. Ignatius at the Chapel of La Storta commemorates the place where the saint received his divine calling. St. Ignatius sends St. Francis Xavier to India recalls the aggressive Jesuit missionary work in foreign countries, and finally, St. Ignatius Receiving Francesco Borgia recalls the recruitment of the Spanish noble who would become General of the Company of Jesuits. Pozzo is also responsible for the fresco in the conch depicting St. Ignatius Healing the Pestilent.

Side chapels

The first chapel on the right has an eighteenth-century altarpiece showing Saints Stanislaus Kostka and John Francis Regis Worshiping the Virgin and Child. The second chapel has an altarpiece depicting St. Joseph and the Virgin and a lunette (right wall) with The Last Communion of St. Luigi Gonzaga, both by Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746); the cupola was painted by Luigi Garzi (1638-1721). The third chapel has an 18th-century altarpiece of The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple by Stefano Pozzi (1699-1768).

The chapel in the right transept, dedicated to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, has a large marble high-relief depicting St. Aloyzius Gonzaga in Glory (1697-99) by the French Pierre Legros. Andrea Pozzo painted the ceiling which shows the saint in glory. Buried in the side altar next to Gonzaga is St. Robert Bellarmine.

The chapel in the left transept houses the relics of Saint John Berchmans.

The chapel just to the right of the church's presbytery (at the south-east corner) houses the funeral monuments of Pope Gregory XV and his nephew, Cardinal Ludovisi, the church's founder. Pierre Legros and Pierre-Étienne Monnot made Gregory XV's monument some sixty years after Gregory's death.

The chapel in the left transept has a marble altarpiece of the Annunciation by Filippo Della Valle, with allegorical figures and angels (1649) by Pietro Bracci, and a frescoed ceiling with The Assumption by Andrea Pozzo. The second and first chapels to the left have paintings by Jesuit Pierre de Lattre, who also did the sacristy paintings.

List of Cardinal Deacons of Sant'Ignazio

The Cardinal Deaconry of Sant Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio was established June 28, 1991.

See also


External links

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