Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jesuit Astronomer Fr. Angelo Secchi At Rocca Di Papa

This town lies about twenty-five kilometres south-east of Rome. Immediately to the south of the town rises Monte Cavo. Henry, Cardinal Duke of York (later King Henry IX and I) gave 500 scudi to the Passionist Fathers to build a monastery on the slopes of the mountain. On October 15, 1778, he laid the foundation stone and on September 26, 1784, he dedicated the new building. This was formerly the site of the great temple of Jupiter Latiaris, the second most important shrine after the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. While later generations have condemned the destruction of the temple, at the time Henry was extolled for replacing it with a Christian church. In the old refectory there is another inscription which records a visit to the monastery by King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia (later King Charles IV) and his wife Queen Marie Clothilde, September 8, 1800.

After the unification of Italy and the confiscation of religious properties by the State, the Passionists left the monastery.

In 1876 the convent became an observatory "Franco Fuligni" founded by the Jesuit astronomer Father Angelo Secchi (1818-1878);
today it is a hotel and restaurant.

On December 3, 1788, Henry Cardinal York consecrated a gold chalice for the parish church of Rocca di Papa (the name Rocca di Papa means Rock Castle of the Pope, as it was named for Pope Eugene III). I do not know if the chalice survives.

Link (here) to A Jacobite Gazetteer

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