San Crisogono
Basilica of Saint Chrysogonus (in English)
Sancti Crisogoni (in Latin)
Trastevere - san Crisogono 01424.JPG
The church
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41°53′21″N 12°28′25″E / 41.889100°N 12.473732°E / 41.889100; 12.473732Coordinates: 41°53′21″N 12°28′25″E / 41.889100°N 12.473732°E / 41.889100; 12.473732
LocationPiazza Sonnino 44, Rome
DenominationRoman Catholic
TraditionRoman Rite
StatusTitular church, minor basilica
DedicationSaint Chrysogonus
Architect(s)Giovanni Battista Soria
Architectural typeChurch
StyleRomanesque (campanile), Baroque (basilica)
Groundbreaking4th century AD?
Completed17th century
Cardinal protectorAndrew Yeom Soo-jung

San Crisogono is a church in Rome (rione Trastevere) dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus. It was one of the tituli, the first parish churches of Rome, and was probably built in the 4th century under Pope Sylvester I (314–335).

The area beneath the sacristy was investigated by Fr. L. Manfredini and Fr. C. Piccolini in 1907. They found remains of the first church. The area was then excavated and studied.

The church is served by Trinitarians. Among the previous Cardinal Priests was Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci (1853–1878), elected Pope Leo XIII. San Crisogono is the station church for Monday, the fifth week of Lent.


Built in the 4th century under Pope Sylvester I (314–335), San Crisogono is one of the first parish churches of Rome. Chrysogonus was martyred in Aquileia probably during the persecution of Diocletian, was buried there, and publicly venerated by the faithful of that region. Very early the veneration of this martyr was transferred to Rome. The first mentioned of the church (Titulus Chrysogoni) is in the signatures of the Roman Synod of 499. It is possible that the founder of the church was a certain Chrysogonus, and that, on account of the similarity of name, the church was soon devoted to the veneration of the martyr of Aquileia; it is also possible that from the beginning, for some unknown reason, it was consecrated to St. Chrysogonus and takes its name from him.[1]

In 731 Pope Gregory III restored the church and founded a monastery dedicated to Sancti Stephani, Laurentii et Chrysogoni. The original monks were of the Byzantine rite. The church was rebuilt in 1123t by John of Crema, and again in 1626 by Giovanni Battista Soria, funded by Scipione Borghese.[2]

A further renovation was carried out in the mid-1860s, shortly after the basilica was placed in the care of the Trinitarian Order.[3]

Art and architecture


The bell tower dates from the 12th century rebuilding. The interior of the church was rebuilt in the 1620s on the site of a 12th-century church. The 22 granite columns in the nave are reused antique columns. The floor is cosmatesque. The confessio in the sanctuary area is from the 8th century.[4] The high altar is from 1127, with a baldachino from (1627 or 1641) by G.B Soria.

The painting in the middle of the Baroque coffered ceiling is by Guercino, and depicts the Glory of Saint Chrysogonus. It is likely a copy of the original,[5] which is thought to have been taken to London.

On the left side of the nave is the shrine of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, buried here in the habit of a tertiary of the Trinitarians. Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837) was a Christian mystic beatified in 1920. Above the altar is a painting by Aronne Del Vecchio of the Trinitarian Saints in Glory.[6] Visitors can view some of her other belongings in the adjacent monastery, where they are venerated as relics.

The monument at the left of the entrance, dedicated to Cardinal Giovanno Jacopo Millo was completed by Carlo Marchionni and Pietro Bracci. Along the right side of the nave are the remains of frescoes, including a Santa Francesca Romana and a Crucifixion, attributed to Paolo Guidotti and transferred from the Church of Saints Barbara and Catherine. The nave also displays a painting of Three Archangels by Giovanni da San Giovanni and a Trinity and Angels by Giacinto Gimignani, while the altar has a Guardian Angel by Ludovico Gimignani. The presbytery and ciborium (or baldachin), created by Soria, are surrounded by four alabaster columns. The apse has frescoes of the Life of Saint Crisogono (16th century) above a Madonna & Child with Saints Crisogono & James by the 12th century school of Pietro Cavallini. The presbytery vault is frescoed with a Virgin by Giuseppe Cesari.[7]

The inscriptions found in San Crisogono, a valuable source illustrating the history of the church, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella.[8]


Remains from the first church, possibly from the reign of Constantine I were discovered in 1907, and are accessed by a staircase in the sacristy. A semi-circular apse is visible. Brickwork in the apse area, datable to the 2nd century, seem to relate to a fairly high-status private house, part of which was converted into a church in the 4th century. The church had a single nave.[9]

On either side of the apse are rooms known as pastophoria, service rooms of a type common in Eastern churches. The one on the right-hand side is thought to have been used as a diaconium, with functions resembling those of the sacristy. The other may have been a baptistry. A number of basins found there during the excavations, including one cut into the south wall, could mean that it was a fullonica, a laundry and dye-house.[9] The area was a commercial district at the time, so this is quite likely. Others think that the basin in the south wall was made for baptism by immersion. As there were other basins too, it seems more likely that it was originally intended for a different use, but it may very well have been used as a baptismal font after the building had been consecrated as a church.[4]

Benedictines acquired the premises in the 10th century and added a series of frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Benedict of Nursia.[4] Other frescoes are from the 8th to the 11th century, and include Pope Sylvester Capturing the Dragon, St Pantaleon Healing the Blind Man, and The Rescue of St Placid.

Several sarcophagi have been preserved here, some beautifully decorated. Below the first church are remains of earlier Roman houses.[9]


The shrine was for many centuries the national church of the Sardinians and the Corsicans resident in Rome. Starting with the 16th century, the Corsicans immigrated in the city settled in the Tiber Island and in that part of Trastevere lying between the Port of Ripa Grande and the church. In the interior are buried several commanders of the Corsican Guard,[2] a militia analogue to the Swiss guard, which was active in Rome between the 15th and the 17th century.

The feast day of St Chrysogonus, 24 November, is also the dedication day of the church. Pilgrims and other faithful who attend Mass on this day receive a plenary indulgence.

Cardinal priests of San Crisogono


  1. ^ Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Chrysogonus." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 November 2022 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b "Basilica of San Crisogono ", Religiana
  3. ^ "Monday: San Crisogono", PNAC
  4. ^ a b c "San Crisogono", Churches of Rome
  5. ^ "Basilica of Saint Crisogono", Turismo Roma, Major Events, Sport, Tourism and Fashion Department
  6. ^ Margaret Varnell Clark (2013). Walking Through Rome. ISBN 978-1475981308.[page needed]
  7. ^ "Romecity entry". Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  8. ^ V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chese e d' altre edifici di Roma, dal secolo XI fino al secolo XVI Volume II (Roma: Fratelli Bencini, 1873), pp. 167-192.
  9. ^ a b c "Basilica of San Crisogono", Atlas Obscura, September 9, 2019
  10. ^ Gregorovius IV. 1, pp. 98-99. Charles Radding and Francis Newton, Theology, Rhetoric, and Politics in the Eucharistic controversy, 1078–1079, (Columbia University Press, 2003), 89.
  11. ^ R. Hüls, Kardinal, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049–1130, Tübingen 1977, p. 175.
  12. ^ Hüls, pp. 175-176.
  13. ^ Hüls, pp. 176-178.


Media related to San Crisogono (Rome) at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Santi Cosma e Damiano
Landmarks of Rome
San Crisogono, Rome
Succeeded by
Santa Croce in Via Flaminia