Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stational Churches of Holy Week: Tuesday in Holy Week

Station: S. Prisca all’Aventino
(Collecta: S. Maria in Portico)

(Image source)

From the Churches of Rome wiki:
The identity of St Prisca is uncertain. One tradition claims that she is identical with Priscilla, who is mentioned in the New Testament, another that she was the daughter of Aquila and Priscilla. In the Acts of the Apostles (Acts XVIII, 1-4), it is written that St Paul stayed with Aquila and Priscilla, Jewish Christians exiled from Rome, when he was in Corinth and again in Ephesus after they had moved there. Later, they were apparently able to move back to Rome, as St Paul sends his greetings to them there (Romans 16, 3-5). The tradition claims that this was her house. This has been challenged, and Prisca may be another woman altogether. No private house has been found underneath the church - in fact, a temple to Mithras was found during excavations in 1940 and 1958[1]. It has, however, been established that Christian worship was established here at an early time, as ancient terracotta lamps with the chi-rho monogram has been found. The commonly accepted date for the church is the 4th or 5th century.

The first documentary evidence of the church is from 489, when it is mentioned in an inscription. It is also mentioned in the list from the Roman Synod of 499.

The church has been altered several times throughout the centuries, and the only clearly identifiable ancient remains are the columns and the parts that are underground.

It was damaged by the Normans under Robert Guiscard in 1084.

In 1094, Pope Urban II invited monks from Vendõme to serve the church. The Catalogue of Turin, c. 1320, mentioned that the church has black monks ("monachos nigros"), which must be a reference to the black-clad Benedictines. The order left the church in 1414.

The most comprehensive restoration took place in 1660. The ancient columns were embedded in pilasters, and a new façade was constructed.

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