Thanks to its fine marbles and to cooperation with internationally renowned architects, Margraf has strong ties with sacred architecture. From the ark that hosted the remains of St. Anthony to the Cathedral in Benevento that was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt by the architect Paolo Rossi De Paoli, from the chapel designed by the architect Paolo Portoghesi at Vicenza Hospital to the Ovetari Chapel in the Eremitani Church in Padua, the company has been providing its expertise gained in over a 100 years of activity in the renovation and construction of religious buildings around the world.
The church of St. Ambrose that stood prior to the construction of Monfalcone Cathedral was destroyed during WWI. It boasted some paintings by Jacopo Palma the Younger and furniture by Matteo Deganutti. The reconstruction of the cathedral from 1926 to 1929 was based on the plan of the Roman architects Gino Benigni and Francesco Leoni and inspired by neo-Romanesque style.
The works for liturgical adaptation are part of a larger project approved in 2009 and designed by the architect Rodolfo Boscarol from Monfalcone. They follow those dating from the sixties and seventies to comply with the tenets set out in Vatican II documents and are studied to fit into the architectural space of the existing church.
The longitudinal definition of the original space was kept along with the layout inspired by early Christian art and great brightness (inspired by Romanesque art) of the existing church. In this project, all marbles bear the Margraf mark and play a leading role in defining the spaces.
The church axis (theological axis) has been redefined through a series of architectural and liturgical episodes: the parvis, the portico, the portal, the processional axis with the baptistery in Port Laurent black marble on the side, the lower presbytery in Lipica Unito with the platform for the minister in VERDE PAVONE, the ambo and monumental staircase in Veselye, the predella of the altar in VERDE PAVONE, the altar in GIALLO d’ORIENTE, the ciborium in Bianco Namibia, the cross, the apse and the half-dome of the apse.
Architectural and liturgical concept of the project
The focal point of the new liturgical concept is the altar, placed at the centre of the upper presbytery dating from 1929. All the marbles were machined and laid in collaboration with the SGUBIN MARMI company, offering a modern interpretation of the ancient technique of bookmatching.
The altar rises above the presbytery floor with three steps in VERDE PAVONE marble that protrude from the bounds of the four pillars of the ciborium. The altar in GIALLO d’ORIENTE is borne by four columns at each corner (the four Evangelists) in brushed Bianco Perlino.
The new ciborium rises above the altar creating an architectural and theological unicum with it. It consists of 4 pillars borne by an iron structure covered in Bianco Namibia marble that tapers as it rises to the sky. It is topped by a reversed dome made of gilt iron scales (in art history and particularly in Gothic art are gold was the locus and symbol of Divinity).
Behind the altar, along the axis of the church, stands out the church's only cross, suspended in midair in the apse.
The new see of the logos and presidency is the renovated low presbytery built in the sixties-seventies: made of Lipica Unito marble, it has been lowered by 3 steps and extended inside the chamber to give it a precise shape and space.
The ambo, the place of the logos, rests on a VERDE PAVONE base that rises above the level of the lower presbytery and is closed off by a coffered balustrade in GIALLO d’ORIENTE marble. The ambo also features the gospel rostrum whose lectern in Breccia Paradiso is borne by two columns in Bianco Perlino, symbolising the two angels who in the Gospel of Luke announced Christ's Resurrection to the myrrh-bearing women. Toward the nave the ambo is marked off by a partition in Bianco Perlino marble, symbolising the tombstone.
The place of liturgical ministry is located on the new lower presbytery opposite the ambo. It consists of a base that rises out of the presbytery to bring the minister as close as possible to his community. The base is a very thick slab of VERDE PAVONE marble that stretches horizontally to balance the verticality of the ambo standing in front of it. It is the place dedicated to the minister and features a curved oakwood seat with backrest and arms in GIALLO d’ORIENTE marble and a coffered pattern on the back.
The baptistery is located at the entrance of the church. The base is made of Port Laurent black marble and has an octagonal shape according to traditional symbology. The baptismal font is the original one by the sculptor Costantino Novelli in 1929.
Summary of Marble marbles used
Baptistery: polished Port Laurent black marble
Lower presbytery: Polished Lipica Unito
Platform: Polished VERDE PAVONE
Ambo: base in polished VERDE PAVONE; balustrade in polished GIALLO d’ORIENTE; parapet and columns in Bianco Perlino; lectern in polished Breccia Paradiso
Monumental staircase: lateral additions in polished Veselye
Altar predella: Polished VERDE PAVONE
Altar: body and top in polished GIALLO d’ORIENTE; columns in brushed Bianco Perlino
Ciborium: in polished Bianco Namibia