Friday, February 26, 2016

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2016 (Part 3)

Monday of the Second Week of Lent - San Clemente

Our pilgrim-on-the-scene Agnese has really outdone herself with some very beautiful images of the Stational liturgy at San Clemente this week. The procession before the Mass began as usual in the ruins of the ancient basilica below the current one, made its way upstairs and through the large portico, before entering for the Mass. San Clemente has been home to the Irish Dominican friars in Rome since the later 17th century, and we see them participating in the procession. Also notice in the 7th photo the custom of strewing greenery on the floors of churches during the station Masses. (Nobody seems to really know where this comes from or why it is done.)
The basilica is famously built on three levels; the 12th-century church seen below in the 7th and 8th pictures sits on top of a church of the 4th century, which in turn sits on top of two ancient Roman buildings, one of the late first and another of the mid-2nd century. All three of these levels are accessible to the public. When the second level, the church of the 4th century, was dug out in the middle of the 19th century, no remains of an altar or any part of the sanctuary were found. The archeologists soon realized that in the process of building the newer church on top of the older, the 12-century builders had dismantled them entirely, moved them upstairs, and reassembled them in their current place. The altar and baldachin seen here were then newly made so that the newly rediscovered spaces of the older church could be used once again for worship.
On the left can be seen some of the fresco work which survives in the 4th-century basilica.
Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent - Santa Balbina
Traditionally, before the station Mass on this day there is a procession from the nearby Norbertine College, and the Mass itself is sung by the clergy and seminarians of the college. The first photograph shows members of the clergy exiting the main door of the college, followed by the procession though the rather narrow streets on the way to Santa Balbina.
Wednesday of the Second Week - St Cecilia in Trastevere
The Basilica of St Cecilia is home to a community of cloistered Benedictine nuns.
The famous statue of St Cecilia by Stefano Maderno, depicting her as her body was said to have been found when her tomb was opened in 1599.

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