Monday, March 26, 2018

Roman Pilgrims at the Station Churches (Part 9)

As we enter Holy Week, we finish up our series of the pictures of the Lenten station churches in Rome from our Roman pilgrims, Agnese Bazzuchi and Fr Alek Shrenck. There will be one more in the series covering a bit of Holy Week.

Tuesday of Passion Week - Santa Maria in via Lata
The church where today's station was originally kept, and which is still listed in the Roman Missal, dedicated to an early Roman martyr named Cyriacus, was demolished in 1491 to make way for the construction of Santa Maria in Via Lata, to which the station was then transferrred.
The crypt is partly the remains of an ancient house, traditionally said to be one of the places where St Paul stayed when he was in Rome.

From Fr Alek: the 13th century icon of the Virgin Mary in the reredos.
The apsidal fresco of the Assumption, (which is the church’s titular feast), interacts very cleverly with the ceiling.
Wednesday of Passion Week - San Marcello al Corso
“Via Lata - Broad Street” is the Latin name for the via del Corso, and the station church for this day sits on it almost directly across from yesterday’s station. The church is dedicated to a Pope who was martyred in the early 4th century, Marcellus, built over the filthy stables where he was condemned to labor by the Emperor Maxentius; his relics are under the high altar. The church burned in 1519, and was rebuilt in the opposite orientation from that of the original structure.


From Fr Alek: the beautiful coffered, painted, and gilded ceiling, adorned with Marian symbols from the Song of Songs, was installed as part of the rebuilding from 1592 to 1594.
 A crucifix miraculously survived the fire and is venerated in a side chapel.
Thursday of Passion week - Sant’Apollinare
These are all from Fr Alek.


The Saint to whom the church is dedicated is traditionally said to have been a disciple of St Peter and the first bishop of Ravenna, martyred sometime after the Prince of the Apostles, who here presents him to God.
Friday of Passion Week - Santo Stefano Rotondo
This day’s station church is (like a few of the others) undergoing a major restoration, so the station was transferred to Ss John and Paul, also on the Caelian Hill. Here the procession before the Mass passes by the church of St Gregory, located on site of a monastery which he founded, and where he lived for a time before his election as Pope in 590. It was from this foundation that he famously sent the group of missionaries to the English church, led by St Augustine of Canterbury.



Saturday of Passion Week - St John before the Latin Gate
The building seen in the first photo is not St John at the Latin Gate, but a small oratory next to it known as “Saint John in oleo - in the oil.” According to a tradition known to Tertullian, and repeated by St Jerome, St John the Evangelist came to Rome some time after the death of Ss Peter and Paul; under the Emperor Domitian, he was boiled in a pot of oil, but emerged from it not only unscathed, but healthier than he had been. He was then banished to the Greek island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse; a feast commemorating this attempted martyrdom of the Apostle was on the general Calendar until 1960. The oratory is said to be on the very spot where the pot of oil was set up; it is attributed to Donatello Bramante, the original architect in charge of rebuilding St Peter’s Basilica in the early 16th-century. (The vestments are red since this is now the vigil Mass of Palm Sunday in the new rite.)





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