Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches - Part 2

More from Agnese, our pilgrim-on-the scene!

Monday of the First Week of Lent - St. Peter in Chains
The reliquary seen here contains the chain with which St Peter was held prisoner in Rome under Nero, and another chain brought from the prison where he was held by Herod in Jerusalem. Tradition holds that when the two chains were brought together in the mid-5th century, under Pope St Leo the Great, they were miraculously united as a single chain in such fashion that one could not tell where the one began and the other ended. A series of smaller links on the left side is from a chain that was used to hold St Paul. The church of Rome has always honored the two Apostles together as her co-founders; for this reason, one of the antiphons of their office reads, “The glorious princes of the earth; as they loved one another in their life, so also in death they were not separated.”

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent - Sant’Anastasia
The church of Sant’Anastasia is also the station for the second Mass of Christmas day, in honor of the titular martyr who shares the day of her birth into heaven with the day of Christ’s Birth into this world.

Ember Wednesday in the First Week of Lent - Santa Maria Maggiore

Like many station churches, Saint Mary Major also keeps the station day by bringing out a large number of reliquaries and displaying them on the altar.

The traditional Mass readings for the three Ember Days in Lent form a unit which are meant to be taken together, along with those of the Second Sunday; they are also chosen in particular reference to the stations at which they are held. Shawn and I wrote an article about this together in 2010, and I wrote another about these station days in 2012, which you might find interesting. 

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: