• Georgiana Tufeanu

Basilica di San Babila


In the city center of Milan you’ll find many streets around Duomo Cathedral that hold very impressive spots for visiting, from museums to theatres and several smaller, but still very important, churches. But today we will focus on one church in particular, the beautiful church of Saint Babila of Antioch.

Starting at Duomo, walk along the left side boulevard, the one parallel to the Vittorio Emanuele II gallery, and after a few hundred metres you’ll find this church known for its majestic and refined decorations.


We will explore:


  1. Architectural Identity: why you should visit

  2. Art

  3. Uniqueness

Architectural Identity: why you should visit

Interior

Entering this medium-sized basilica, your eyes will naturally be drawn to the fresco of the patron saint located on top of the altar. The structure of the church was restored after 1926, and that makes it feel welcoming and well preserved.

Lateral Chapels

There is a very specific and well defined element in this church that makes everything feel balanced and in harmony: the perfectly symmetrical lateral chapels. As you continue you walk in the church, they accompany you and lead you in a splendid way, as you can stop reflecting and praying in front of each of them to different saints. Worth of mention the left side chapel, dedicated to Saint Joseph, holding an altarpiece by Ludovico Pogliaghi, the same author of the famous central door of Duomo Cathedral [1]


Exterior

The façade of the basilica is beautiful, having depicted Christ blessing and holding the Gospels books in the central lunette, in a golden mosaic. With its neo-Romanesque style, it attracts visitors in between the services, as the church gets full of faithful locals during the celebrations.

Art

As mentioned before, the fresco on top of the altar depicts Saint Babila and the three boys (Urban, Prilidianus and Epolonio, sons of Teodula) with whom he was martyred, under the rule of Emperor Decius in 250 AD, and is the work of Luigi Cavenaghi, well known Italian painter. The baptismal font, decorated with angels holding the silver robe resting on a quartz block is as well a great piece of art. [2]

Uniqueness

I’ve visited this place a couple times right before the Mass and I got the chance to listen to the choir rehearsing. I could tell that this is a church that takes the music seriously.


The basilica has a Zanin pipe organ that is well known for making any celebration more powerful and joyful.

Saint Babila was the thirteenth bishop of Antioch, and its cult is widespread in the East.

In Italy, he is known as the protector of purity and chastity. [1]

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References [1]

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_San_Babila

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