Friday, December 04, 2009

The 10th (or 11th) Century Basilica of Sant'Elia

While in the midst of researching another piece, I ran into some photos of a rather beautiful church near Nepi, Italy; the Basilica of Sant'Elia in Castel Sant'Elia.

It is beautiful for reasons of its architecture, its cosmatesque floors, its vibrant wall paintings, its ambone, and its altar with ciborium.

The basilica was constructed in either the 10th or 11th century, and the ciborium likewise dates from this period. By tradition, it is suggested that this basilica was erected over the spot of a former pagan Roman temple constructed by Nero for Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.

In the crypt underneath the basilica are found the tombs of St. Anastasius and St. Nonnosus.

Exterior of the Basilica

A View from the Nave

Note the Ambo, and note as well you can just see the original beams of the basilica ceiling.

Altar, Ciborium and Apse

In the above photo, the platform behind the altar is a modern addition added for the possibility of versus populum celebrations at this altar; the pillar stand before the high altar is likewise a modern addition. This photo best shows the original altar in its integrity.

One will note that the murals would have continued around to the apse.

Details from the Apse


Note the rich carvings

Other Details

A glorious basilica yet today, and what must have been its glory when it was yet fully in tact with its all of its murals and the like.

Photo credits: Some of these photos are from Wikipedia, and others are from a blog, Stadtführung in Rom

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