A Tourist in Rome - Saints Sergius and Bacchus
|Location:||41.89502, 12.49087 in Piazza Madonna dei Monti|
The very small Catholic church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Santi Sergio e Bacco) is of the Byzantine Rite. The two saints were early 4th-century Roman military officers and Christian martyrs buried in Syria. The first version of the church, built in the Roman Forum, dates to the 9th century. In the 11th century it was a monastery populated by Benedictine monks. In 1413 the church stopped being associated with a monastery. In 1587 the church in the Roman Forum was demolished and succeeded by a renovated church at the current location. It was renovated again by Pope Urban VIII (birth name Maffeo Barberini) who was pope from 1623-1644, and an inscription above the doorway (2nd photo below) records this work, and is the only part of the 17th century facade which survives today.
FECIT ANTONIUS BARBERINI CARDINALIS SANCTI ONOPHRII IN HONOREM SS. SERGII ET BACCHIIn 1718, an icon of Madonna and Child was discovered under the plaster of a wall in the adjacent sacristy building, and the next year it was removed and installed above the main altar of the church, where it still stands today (4th photo below). In 1741, reconstruction and redecoration of the church was undertaken to honor the image of the Madonna, with the interior receiving the appearance it has today. In 1897 the front facade was remodeled, giving it the form it has today. Since 1970 it has been a national church of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Rome, and since 2019 the church serves as a cathedral for the Ukrainian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Italy.
Cardinal Antonio Barberini, titular of Sant'Onofrio al Gianicolo, in honor of Saints Sergius and Bacchus did this work.