Church of Corpus Christi

Via Mario Pagano, 6-10. (Open Map)


Religious fervor and missionary zeal are at the origins of the Chiesa del Corpus Domini. The Carmelite Order, present in this area of Milan, set up this spiritual and charitable institution. Their presence in the city dates back to 1268 when they worked in the proximity of the Sant'Ambrogio ad Nemus Order, where they had a convent and church dedicated to the Annunciation, probably in remembrance of the Palestinian origins of the Order.In 1611, after having strived to obtain permission from Cardinal Federico Borromeo, the Scalzi (Barefoot Carmelites) of Santa Teresa joined them, and in 1614 the same Cardinal consecrated the new church built by them in honour of his cousin San Carlo Borromeo, who had recently risen to the altar and who, for many years, had been the Protector of the Carmelite Order in the Roman Curia.In 1674 at Porta Nuova, where the church and convent of San Carlo had been constructed, they were joined by the Monache Scalze delle Riforma Carmelitana (Barefoot Carmelitian Monks), however, the various suppression of, firstly, the Empress Maria Teresa and then Napoleon cancelled every trace of the Scalzi in Milan, until Father Beccaro was nominated by Archbishop Cardinal Andrea Ferrari to guide the Sempione area around the Arco della Pace. It was an area that was becoming increasingly more populated and in need of spiritual assistance.In 1894, Father Beccaro returned from the Indies where he had been a missionary and built a primitive wooden church from which the monumental complex of the Basilica "Corpus Domini" and all the affiliated structures developed, like the convent, the print works and the Istituto dei Piccoli Derelitti (Orphanage). Of all the activities linked to the intense years of material and spiritual works of the Basilica, all that remains is the Pia Opera del Suffragio.The project was drawn up in 1894, work of the architect Ippolito Marchetti but the construction of the lower church was started in 1899. The parish is composed of two superimposed churches, in Romanesque-Byzantine style; the upper part was added in 1910.The community originates from a religious building acquired from one of the exhibition pavilions of the Fiera Campionaria trade fair. Father Beccaro, who had returned from the Indies, imagined that in that area of Milan around the Arco della Pace there were inhabitants who needed practical and spiritual help.In 1884, the church was in one of the first streets to be linked up with Piazza Duomo, with the electric urban tram line.The building complex transmits a feeling of “home” and solidity, traits that are typical of the religious buildings of the city. The lateral rose windows help to make it more graceful. The repeated decorative patterns mitigate the monumentality of the building.The wide hut shaped facade and the construction in terracotta give a “concrete” image of the house of God, immersed in the hustle and bustle of the daily needs of the people.