San Tommaso in Formis
(Click on any photo to see a larger version)
To celebrate the 2000 Jubilee the Order commissioned seven
stained glass windows from Samuele Pulcini, to commemorate
holy people associated with the Order. Six are in the side walls,
and one over the entrance.
The church of San Tommaso in Formis is a small 13th century convent church on the Caelian Hill. Situated on the edge of Villa Celimontana and next to the Arch of Dolabella (Porta Caelimontana), a gate in the original Servian Wall, the church is dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle.
The church is ancient probably dating to the 10th century as a Benedictine monastery. In 1209 Pope Innocent III donated the monastery to St. John of Matha, one of the founders of the Trinitarian Order for the ransoming of Christians enslaved by Muslims in Spain and North Africa.
As a result of The Great Schism, which shook the Catholic Church in the years 1378-1417, the Trinitarians left Rome in 1380, and abandoned the complex. The church was transferred to the Chapter of St Peter's (also known as the Vatican Chapter). The buildings seem to have been left derelict, and the church was closed down. The arms of the Vatican Chapter are found over the sacristy door.
In 1663, the church was completely rebuilt to its present form by the Vatican Chapter. Little is left of the medieval furnishings and decorations apart from the famous mosaic over the hospital gateway.
The Trinitarians were again granted formal possession of the church in 1898, on occasion of the 700th anniversary of the Order's foundation, with some rooms next to the gate, including the cell-chapel of St John which is actually over the arch. The Order took a while to restore the little complex, and only finished the church in 1925.
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