Christopher Longhurst

Christopher Longhurst, born in New Zealand, received his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Angelicum University, Rome, with a specialization in theological aesthetics. He was a member of the faculty at the Marymount International School in Rome starting in 2004, and currently writes on the intersections of art and religion and works as a docent at the Papal Galleries at the Vatican Museums.

Articles by Christopher Longhurst

An Architectural and Theological Interface

The Dominican Complex at Magnanapoli, Rome, is an architectural composite from the mid sixteenth century in the heart of the ancient city currently housing the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, along with the adjacent monastery, convent and adjoining gardens, and the church of Saints Dominic and Sixtus.

A Roman Christmas Ritual: Micro-Architecture and the Theatre of the Presepio

The celebration of Christmas in Rome has its own unique flavor, combining sumptuous liturgical celebrations and festive religious and cultural traditions. One of the most renowned traditions during this joyful time is the construction of the presepio. The Italian word “presepio” comes from the Latin “praesaepe,” a combination of “prae” (in front of) and “saepire” (to enclose), which is rendered in English as “manger,” or “stall.” The Christmas ritual of constructing a presepio is a tradition that has been passed down for generations, possessing an important place in symbolic Christmas representation and devotional practice. At Christmastime these displays attract visitors to the city of Rome from all over the world. They are usually artistic masterpieces, spectacular, dramatic, and adorned with delightful figurines and stunning landscapes.