Santi Celso e Giuliano
Ponte - SS. Celso e Giuliano.JPG
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41°54′2.01″N 12°28′1″E / 41.9005583°N 12.46694°E / 41.9005583; 12.46694Coordinates: 41°54′2.01″N 12°28′1″E / 41.9005583°N 12.46694°E / 41.9005583; 12.46694
LocationVicolo del Curato 12, Rome
DenominationRoman Catholic
Religious instituteInstitute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
StatusMinor basilica
Relics heldMary Magdalene
Associated peoplePius XII
Architect(s)Carlo de Dominicis
DioceseDiocese of Rome
ParishSan Giovanni dei Fiorentini

Santi Celso e Giuliano is a minor basilica[1] and papal chapel of the Diocese of Rome in the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. It has held its basilica status by custom and practice since ancient times. The church is located on Vicolo del Curato number 12, just off Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, the road leading to Ponte Sant'Angelo.

Interior and main altar of the church
Interior and main altar of the church


The first church on the site dated to at least the year 1008,[2] and in 1198 was given the honor of being named a papal chapel.[3] Canons of the collegiate church are mentioned in the fourteenth century[4] and at around the same time it served as the chapel for the procurators of the Audientia,[5] a predecessor body to the Apostolic Signatura.[6]

The church underwent intermittent building and remodeling in the late 1400s[3] and early 1500s,[7] during which time Donato Bramante drafted a design for the building.[8] This, however, was never implemented and the church remained unfinished.[7]

It was also during this time that the church became tied to the Office of Ceremonies, (the predecessor body to the Sacred Congregation of Rites), primarily through the work of Paris de Grassis. Through his dual role as archpriest of the church and head of the Office of Ceremonies, he oversaw the linking of the small, uninfluential Office to the parish, which had many wealthy and influential patrons, and was a popular pilgrimage destination, as it possessed a relic of the left foot of Mary Magdalene since the mid-fifteenth century[7].The parish was also where many members of the Roman Curia and Papal Court resided.[7]

This connection was strengthened by the church's placement at the start of the strada papale, the processional route a newly-elected Pope followed to take possession of St. John Lateran.[2] All processions from the city to St. Peter's passed by the church as well.[7]

Under the 1513 bull Pastoralis Officii, the president of the Office of Ceremonies (who also served as the papal master of ceremonies) received the title of archpriest of the church. [7]

In 1518, Biagio da Cesena, Papal Master of Ceremonies to Pope Leo X, Adrian VI, Clement VII and Paul III,[9] was appointed archpriest of the church. He is remembered principally for his criticism of the nudity presented in The Last Judgment of Michelangelo, who is thought to have portrayed him there as Minos in the inferno.[10]

Under Pope Clement XII, the architect Carlo de Dominicis created the current baroque church which was completed in 1735.[11] The main altarpiece is a Christ in Glory by Pompeo Batoni and commissioned by Cardinal Giuseppe Furietti.[8] This present building has been described as " of the loveliest Baroque interiors in the city [of Rome]"[12] and "a fine example of eighteenth-century art".[12]

Eugenio Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII in 1939, was baptized in the church 2 days after his birth in 1876.[12]

Pius X transferred the church to the parish of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in 1906, [13] and in 1912 the canons of the church were given the privilege of prelatial choir dress by him.[14]

On Christmas Eve, 2019, the rector of the basilica invited canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to take over the church as its home in Rome.[15]


See also


  1. ^ (in English) Basilics in Italy
  2. ^ a b "SS. Celso e Giuliano". Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  3. ^ a b Burroughs, Charles (1982). "Below the Angel: An Urbanistic Project in the Rome of Pope Nicholas V". Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. 45: 103 – via JSTOR.
  4. ^ Salvino Salvini, Catalogo cronologico de' canonici della chiesa metropolitana fiorentina compilato l'anno 1751 (Firenze: per Gaetano Cambiagi stampatore granducale, 1782), p. 26.
  5. ^ Joachim, Stieber (January 2002). "Deutsche Prokuratoren an der römischen Kurie in der Frührenaissance (1431-1474) by Andreas Sohn". University of Chicago Press. 77 (1): 248 – via JSTOR.
  6. ^ "Catholic Church. Audientia Litterarum Contradictarum. - Social Networks and Archival Context". Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  7. ^ a b c d e f DeSilva, Jennifer Mara (October 2011). "Appropriating Sacred Space: Private-Chapel Patronage and Institutional Identity in Sixteenth-Century Rome—The Case of the Office of Ceremonies". The Catholic Historical Review. 97 (4): 667 – via MUSE.
  8. ^ a b Macandrew, Hugh (Summer 1978). "A Group of Batoni Drawings at Eton College, and Some Eighteenth-Century Italian Copyists of Classical Sculpture". Master Drawings. 16 (2): 137 – via JSTOR.
  9. ^ Land, Norman E. (Summer 2013), "Source: Notes in the History of Art", A Concise History of the Tale of Michelangelo and Biagio da Cesena, Ars Brevis Foundation, Inc., vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 15–19, JSTOR 41955680
  10. ^ Cristina Acidini ([n.d.]) Michelangelo pittore (in Italian). Enciclopedia on line. Roma: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed September 2022.
  11. ^ Sullivan, George (2006). Not Built In A Day: Exploring the Architecture of Rome (1st ed.). New York: Carroll and Graf. p. 106. ISBN 0786717491.
  12. ^ a b c Winterbottom, Michael (June 2010). Pius XII : a saint in the making : a biographical study. Chesire: Universe Media Group Limited. pp. 6–7. ISBN 9781904657651.
  13. ^ "Susceptum, Deo (24 Octobris 1906) | PIUS X". Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  14. ^ "In litteris Nostris (23 Decembris 1913) | PIUS X". Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  15. ^ "A New Apostolate in Rome: The Institute in the Eternal City". Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. 6 January 2020.

Further reading

Preceded by
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Landmarks of Rome
Santi Celso e Giuliano
Succeeded by
San Clemente al Laterano