Santa-Maria-Della-Concezione, Rome, Italy
Santa-Maria-della-Concezione dei Cappuccini church (Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins) was designed by Antonio Casoni and built in 1626-1631. The church consists of a small nave and six chapels. In one of them St. Felix de Cantalice (16th cen.) is buried, in another one the tomb of Blessed Crispin of Viterbo is placed. The ceiling and the walls of the church are covered with works of Caravaggio, Pietro da Cortona, and Guido Reni. However, the most interesting thing about the church is not the main hall with the carvings of famous masters, but the crypt (ossuary). Crypt, when translated from Greek, means a subterranean room, cache. The crypt of Santa-Maria-della-Concezione church is divided into five chapels, illuminated only by day light and little fluorescent lamps. When entering one of them you can see a note: "What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be".
Here is how it all began. In 1626 he church was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII. After the end of the construction in 1631, according to his brother's, Cardinal Antoni Barberini's order the remains of Capuchin monks, buried near the Trevi fountain were moved to the crypt. During three centuries (1528-1870) when the Catholic Church permitted burials on the territory of church or under it, the remains of almost 4000 monks were collected. At first the skeletons were wrapped in cloaks and left under the church walls. Later the skeletons turned into elements of decoration; mainly biblical scenes are staged but still one can see skeletons in cloaks hanging on the walls. In one if the chapels the skeleton of princess Barberini, Pope Sixtus V's niece is hung, who died at a very early age. On the whole the church is decorated in baroque style. There are reasons to believe that this church has been the prototype for the Sedlec chapel.
By Sona Gasparian, www.building.am