The San Teodoro al Palatino is located in the street of the same name in the Ripa district in Rome. This Greek-Orthodox church is graced by the original apse mosaics and an interesting early 18th century square.
San Teodoro al Palatino Church Rome
Address: Via di San Teodoro, 7 – Rome. Phone: (+39) 06 6786624. Opening times: . Ticket price: Free.
Every year on Good Friday, a special service is held in the church by the Brotherhood of the Sacconi Rossi (“Red Sacks”).
History and description
The Chiesa di San Teodoro al Palatino is one of only few churches in Rome with a round floor plan. Despite multiple restorations in the course of the centuries, this plan was never altered.
It was built on top of what used to be the horrea Agrippiana, storage spaces for grain and cereals founded by Agrippa.
The dome was added in 1454. It was the work of Bernardo Rossellino and was the first dome of its kind in Rome. In the same year Leon Battista Alberti was responsible for the design of the portal.
The small square with the double staircase was designed by Carlo Fontana in 1705. This staircase descends from the street towards the church entrance, which creates a pleasant frame around the square.
Saint Theodore of Amassea
The church is dedicated to the 3rd century warrior saint Theodore of Amassea. He was also known as Theodore Tyron and was martyred in 306. He served in the Roman army in Amasea in northern Turkey, where he set fire to the pagan temple of Magna Mater. After having been tortured, he ended up being burnt himself.
Brotherhood of the Red Sacks
The Sacconi Rossi Brotherhood was founded in the 17th century. its members occupied themselves with the burial of unidentified dead bodies that were often found floating in the Tiber. Since they were dressed in red caps and mantles, they got the nickname “Red Sacks”.
According to an old legend the church was built on top of the Lupercale, the cave where Remus and Romulus were raised by the She-Wolf. However, the “real” Lupercale was found some years ago in another part of the Palatino.