The façade of Saint-Louis-des-Français restored

Source: FSSPX News

After twelve months of work, the restored façade of the Church of Saint-Louis-des-Français in Rome was officially dedicated on the evening of January 29, 2010.  Presiding over the ceremony was Stanislas de Laboulaye, French ambassador to the Holy See and president of Les Pieux établissements de la France à Rome et à Lorette [The Pious Foundations of France in Rome and Loreto].

Since it was built in the sixteenth century (1518-1589), this edifice located at the heart of the historic center of the capital, between the Pantheon and the Piazza Navone, has been “a place where France is present and influential in the Eternal City”, the ambassador explained to the crowd that had come to attend the first illumination of the monument.  “Indeed, around the church and the adjoining palace, a ‘French square’ gradually formed,” which became a point of reference for France.  Saint-Louis is the national church of France in Rome, and Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, is its titular bishop.  The side walls of the church will be restored in turn in the coming months.

The façade is the work of Giacomo della Porta (1533-1602) and Domenico Fontana (1543-1607).  The interior decoration is essentially from the mid-eighteenth century.  It includes numerous works of art such as the “Assumption of the Virgin” by Francesco Bassano (1589), three paintings by Caravaggio on the life of Saint Matthew (1600), and the frescos of Domenichino on the life of Saint Cecilia (1616).

The Pious Foundations of France in Rome and Loreto are a French foundation established in Italy, endowed over the course of the centuries by gifts and legacies of Frenchmen, directed by its own organizational structures and placed under the trusteeship of the French Embassy accredited to the Holy See.  The proprietorship [? affectation] of certain properties belonging to it, such as the group of convents called La Trinité des Monts and the Church of Saint-Claude-des-Francs-Comtois-de-Bourgogne, is the subject of bilateral agreements between France and the Holy See.  The Pious Foundations consist of:  five churches in Rome and their accessory buildings (Saint-Louis-des-Français, La Trinité des Monts, Saint-Nicolas-des-Lorrains, Saint-Yves-des-Bretons, Saint-Claude-des-Francs-Comtois-de-Bourgogne) and thirteen income-earning properties;  in Loreto, a small property, the National Chaplaincy of France and several hectares/acres of land.  (Sources:  apic/imedia/france-vatican - DICI no. 211 dated March 6, 2010).