Santo Stefano degli Abissini

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Santo Stefano degli Abissini is a parish church in Vatican City. It is the national church of Ethiopia. The liturgy is celebrated according to the Alexandrine rite of the Ethiopian Catholic Church.


The existing church was built by Pope Leo III (795816), and named Santo Stefano Maggiore. It stands above the ruins of a pagan temple dedicated to Vesta, and was originally built as a circular building with twenty Corinthian columns, which is a common plan for a temple of Vesta. The temple was converted to a church by Leo the Great (440-461).

It was rebuilt in 1159 under Pope Alexander III, who also built a monastery for Ethiopian monks next to it. In 1479, Pope Sixtus IV restored the church. It was at this time that the name was changed to reflect that it was served by Ethiopians (Abyssianians).

Due to its dilapidated condition it was restored and altered under Pope Gregory XI in 1706, and again in 1928.

In 2008 the Fabbrica di San Pietro, (Dir. Dott. Pietro Zonder) restored the church interior and exterior.

Related Links: from Roman Churches Wiki
from Wikipedia
Italian translated article

Location: 41° 54' 6.5"N 12° 27' 7"E

Additional information

Church #156/44
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