(Vatican Radio) Due to the extreme cold in Rome, the St. Egidio Community has kept the Church of St. Callixtus in Trastevere open since 7 Jan as a refuge from the cold for homeless people who have no other place to keep warm.
A communique from the Office of the Papal Charities said the church will remain open as long as cold temperatures persist.
There are around 30 people – Italians and foreigners – who sleep rough in the area and have been welcomed into St. Callixtus so they may stay the night out of the low temperatures.
The communique said guests are offered dinner at St. Egidio’s nearby soup kitchen before being allowed into the church to sleep. Their needs are looked after by volunteers.
St. Callixtus and its annexes are extraterritorial property of the Holy See. Though the current church building dates from the 17th century, it was built upon an ancient Roman church, built around the well in which Pope St. Callixtus I was martyred in 222.