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Santa Balbina
Saint Balbina (in English)
Sancta Balbina (in Latin)
The façade of Santa Balbina.
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41°52′50″N 12°29′23″E / 41.880521°N 12.489662°E / 41.880521; 12.489662
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusTitular church
DedicationBalbina of Rome
Architectural typeChurch
Groundbreaking4th Century
Cardinal protectorvacant

Santa Balbina is a Roman Catholic basilica church in located in the Aventine rione, adjacent to the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.


A church at the site initially was built in the 4th century over the house of consul Lucius Fabius Cilo. Possibly the ancient Titulus Tigridae, the basilica was consecrated to St Balbina (died c. 130) in circa the year 600 by Pope Gregory I. It underwent many revisions since then, including by Pope Gregory III in 751, Pope Paul II in 1464, and by Cardinal Pompeo Arrigoni in 1600. Initially affiliated with Augustinians, the allegiance changed to the secular priests of Naples by Pope Innocent XII.

The adjoining monastery has a commanding medieval defence tower. Inside the basilica there is a very fine[citation needed] episcopal chair with Cosmatesque decoration from the 13th century. The church was heavily restored in the 1930s when frescoes were discovered on the side walls from the 9th to 14th centuries. The Baroque frescoes in the apse and the triumphal arch were painted by Anastasio Fontebuoni in 1599. The triumphal arch is decorated with the figures of Ss Paul and Peter while in the apse we can see St Balbina between other martyrs.

An ancient sarcophagus was also discovered during the restoration. It is now used as a font.

In 1270 the first known Hungarian cardinal, Stephen Báncsa was buried in the basilica. Another 13th-century Hungarian clergyman, Pál, Bishop of Paphos, erected an altar in the church for Saint Nicolas. Both the altar and the grave disappeared during later centuries, but a plaque commemorates the offerings of Pál.

The most recent cardinal priest of Santa Balbina was Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom. According to him, the Hungarian connections of the church played a part in the pope's decision to assign him Santa Balbina. Erdö also recommended Hungarian pilgrims visit the basilica and said he feels a special responsibility for the building.[citation needed] In March 2023, his title was changed to Santa Maria Nuova after Santa Balbina was because of its deteriorated physical condition.[1]

Previous titulars include Alfonso de la Cueva, marqués de Bedmar and Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.

Father Simpliciano of the Nativity founded the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts here.

List of Cardinal-Priests




  1. ^ "Ferenc pápa új címtemplomot jelölt ki Erdő Péter bíboros számára". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Esztergom–Budapest. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  2. ^ P. Kehr, Archivio della r. Società Romana di storia patria 23 (1900), p. 283. Guido was a genuine cardinal who crossed over to the Obedience of antipope Clement III.
  3. ^ Hüls, p. 153.
  4. ^ Hüls, pp. 153-154.
  5. ^ Hüls, p. 154.
  6. ^ Hüls, p. 154. Gregorius joined the Obedience of Anacletus II, and was probably one of those deposed and anathematized at the Second Lateran Council.
  7. ^ Also known as Simon de Caritate. Eubel I, p. 40.
  8. ^ Eubel I, p. 40. Appointed by Urban VI on 18 September 1378, Elzirius died on 25 August 1380
  9. ^ Eubel I, p. 40. Bishop of Chieti, he was appointed by Urban VI on 18 September 1378, Elzirius died on 25 August 1380.
  10. ^ Eubel I, p. 40. Bishop of Rimini.
  11. ^ Eubel I, p. 40. Bishop of Chieti.
  12. ^ Eubel II, p. 61. Kempe was Archbishop of York.


Media related to Santa Balbina at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Santi Apostoli, Rome
Landmarks of Rome
Santa Balbina
Succeeded by
San Bartolomeo all'Isola