Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto dei Teutonici

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Church of Our Lady of Mercy in the Teutonic Cemetery
Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto dei Teutonici ‹See Tfd› (in Italian)
Borgo (CdV) - Edificio con SM in Camposanto teutonico.JPG
Building complex in which is inserted the National Church in Rome of Austria, Germany, the Netherlands.
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Ecclesiastical or organizational status National Church in Rome of Austria, Germany, the Netherlands
Year consecrated1500 [1]
Location Flag of Italy.svg Rome, Italy
Geographic coordinates 41°54′05″N12°27′17″E / 41.901255°N 12.454861°E / 41.901255; 12.454861 Coordinates: 41°54′05″N12°27′17″E / 41.901255°N 12.454861°E / 41.901255; 12.454861
Type Church
Style Baroque
Completed15th century
Length30 metres (98 ft)
Width18 metres (59 ft)
Official website

The Church of Our Lady of Mercy in the Teutonic Cemetery (Italian : Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto dei Teutonici) is a Roman Catholic church in the rione Borgo of Rome, Italy. The building lies near the Vatican City, is attached and adjacent to the Collegio Teutonico, the German Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican City. The site belonged to the Schola Francorum, a hospice for German pilgrims which was the oldest German institution in Rome. [2] The church, lying in piazza Protomartiri Romani, is in the area of the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizo, which belongs to Italy but according to the Lateran treaty has an extraterritorial status in favour of the Holy See.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Borgo (rione of Rome) rione XIV of Rome, Italy

Borgo, is the 14th historic district (rione) of Rome, Italy. It lies on the west bank of the Tiber, within Municipio I, and it has a trapezoidal shape. Its coat of arms shows a lion, lying in front of three mounts and a star. These - together with a lion rampant - are also part of the coat of arms of Pope Sixtus V, who annexed Borgo as the 14th rione of Rome.

Vatican City Independent city-state within Rome, Italy

Vatican City, officially Vatican City State, is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See. With an area of 44 hectares, and a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest sovereign state in the world by both area and population.


The term "Teutonico" is a reference to the Germanic peoples. The church is the National Church in Rome of Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Charitable institutions attached to churches in Rome were founded right through the medieval period and included hospitals, hostels, and others providing assistance to pilgrims to Rome from a certain "nation", which thus became these nations' national churches in Rome. These institutions were generally organised as confraternities and funded through charity and legacies from rich benefactors belonging to that "nation". Often also they were connected to national "scholae", where the clergymen were trained. The churches and their riches were a sign of the importance of their nation and of the prelates that supported them. Up to 1870 and Italian unification, these national churches also included churches of the Italian city states.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising nine federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly nine million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is landlocked and highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.


In 796 Charlemagne, by permission of Pope Leo III, founded on ground adjoining this spot a hospice for pilgrims, which was intended for the people of his empire. In connection with the hospice was a church dedicated to the Saviour and a graveyard for the burial of the subjects of Charlemagne who died in Rome. From the beginning, this foundation was placed under the care of the ecclesiastical authorities of St Peter's. The decline, soon after this period, of the Carolingian empire, brought the hospice, the Schola Francorum, entirely under the jurisdiction of the basilica; at the same time, the original intent of a place for pilgrims and the poor was preserved. In the complete ruin which overtook Rome during the Avignon Papacy (1309–1378), and during the following decades of the Western Schism, the ecclesiastical foundations in the vicinity of St. Peter's sank into decay.

Charlemagne King of the Franks, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Pope Leo III 8th and 9th-century pope

Pope Leo III was Bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 26 December 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him Holy Roman Emperor and "Augustus of the Romans".

Avignon Papacy Period during which the popes resided in Avignon, France

The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon rather than in Rome. The situation arose from the conflict between the papacy and the French crown, culminating in the death of Pope Boniface VIII after his arrest and maltreatment by Philip IV of France. Following the further death of Pope Benedict XI, Philip forced a deadlocked conclave to elect the French Clement V as pope in 1305. Clement refused to move to Rome, and in 1309 he moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years. This absence from Rome is sometimes referred to as the "Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy".

After the return of the popes, new life sprang up, and the enthusiasm for building and endowing foundations in the Borgo was rekindled under Popes Martin V, Eugenius IV, and Nicholas V. The remembrance of Charlemagne and his hospice revived in the mind of the large and influential German colony then residing at Rome, and during the reign of Martin V (1417–1431) the enlarged cemetery was surrounded with a wall built by Fredericus Alemannus, who also erected a house for its guardians. During the plague outbreak of 1448, Johannis Assonensis, a German confessor attached to St. Peter's and later Bishop of Wurzburg, assembled his countrymen there and founded among them a brotherhood, the object of which was to provide suitable burial for all poor Germans dying in Rome. This brotherhood built a church, a new hospice for German pilgrims on the adjoining land, and developed the Campo Santo into a German national institution.

In the 15th, 16th, and even in the 19th century the German nation was represented at Rome by numerous officials at the papal court and by guilds of German bakers, shoemakers, and weavers; in these ages Germans were to be found in every industry of ordinary life, and German bankers and inn-keepers were especially numerous. Nevertheless, the steadily decreasing German population of Rome during the 17th and 18th centuries caused the Campo Santo, as a national foundation, and the brotherhood to sink into neglect.

The church was progressively eclipsed by the church of Saint Maria dell' Anima. In 1876 Pope Pius IX founded a seminary for German-speaking priests for the special study of archaeology and church history to replace the Schola Francorum. Today, the church is still an important gathering place for the German-speaking community in Rome.

Pope Pius IX 255th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti, was head of the Catholic Church from 16 June 1846 to his death on 7 February 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years. During his pontificate, Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council (1869–70), which decreed papal infallibility, but the council was cut short owing to the loss of the Papal States.


A guide from the early 19th century mentions a main altarpiece depicting a Deposition by Polidoro di Caravaggio, flanked by painting by Giacinto d'Hasse. This latter painter's tomb monument, located inside the church, was sculpted by Francois Duquesnoy. The lateral altars housed a St Erasmus by Giacinto Gimignani and Epiphany by Scarsellino; the altar dedicated to St Charles Borromeo had an altarpiece depicting the Flight to Egypt by Arrigo Fiammingo; St John Nepomunk by Ignazio Stern; and the sacristy held an Immaculate Conception by Luigi Garzi. [3]

Giacinto Gimignani Italian painter

Giacinto Gimignani was an Italian painter, active mainly in Rome, during the Baroque period. He was also an engraver in aquaforte.

Scarsellino painter of the Italian Baroque

Scarsellino or Ippolito Scarsella was an Italian mid-to-late sixteenth century reformist painter and one of the most important representatives of the School of Ferrara. His landscapes of both sacred and secular themes strongly anticipate the landscape painting traditions of the 17th century.

Ignazio Stern painter from Austria

Ignazio Stern, born in Mauerkirchen in Austria, was a Baroque painter who worked in Rome, dying there in 1748.

See also


  1. Grundmann, Stefan; Fürst, Ulrich (1998). The Architecture of Rome. Stuttgart: Ed. Axel Menges. p. 107. ISBN   3-930698-60-9.
  2. Official website of the Vatican City, Teutonic Cemetery Archived 2012-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Guida metodica di Roma e suoi contorni, by Giuseppe Melchiorri, Rome (1836); page 442.

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