Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Roman Pilgrims at the Station Churches 2022 (Part 4)

Every year, this series suffers one or more interruptions for various reasons, and this time around, our friend Agnese has been unable to attend several of the recent stations. Fortunately, Jacob has been able to visit and make videos about almost all of the churches that she missed. Once again, we grateful to them both for sharing this annual Lenten pilgrimage with us.

The Third Sunday of Lent – St Lawrence Outside the Walls
This is one of Rome’s oldest churches, built by the Emperor Constantine in the first years of the peace of the Church, over the site of the great martyr’s burial. Pope St Sixtus III (432-40) built a second church on the site, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, flush with one of the walls of the Constantinian structure; this wall was then taken down in the time of Pelagius II (579-90, St Gregory the Great’s predecessor), transforming the Marian church into the nave of St Lawrence’s. The sanctuary was then rebuilt at a rather higher level than the nave, with a large crypt beneath it. The dedication to the Virgin Mary of what is now the nave is remembered in the traditional Gospel of the day, which ends with the verses from Luke 11 commonly read on Our Lady’s feasts, and at Her Saturday Votive Mass. “And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Monday of the Third Week of Lent – St Mark
The church was originally dedicated by Pope Mark, who reigned for less than 10 months in 336 AD, to his namesake the Evangelist. Because the latter is the Patron Saint of Venice, which nicked his relics from Alexandria in Egypt in 828, it has often been given as the cardinalitial title to the bishops of that city; six Popes have been elected while cardinal of this church, four of whom were Patriarch at the time of their election. (Gregory XII, 1406-15, the last Pope to resign before Benedict XVI; Paul II, 1464-71; Clement XIII, 1758-69; and John Paul I, 33 days in 1978.) The church is now surrounded on three sides by the Palazzo Venezia, formerly the embassy of the Venetian Republic to the Papal States, and later on, of the Austrian Empire to Italy.

The apsidal mosaic, which dates from the reign of Pope St Gregory IV (828-44); the Pope himself is the figure on the left, with a square blue halo to indicate that he was still alive at the time the mosaic was made.

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent – St Pudentiana
Like San Vitale and Ss Peter and Marcellinus, both of which we saw in the previous post of this series, the basilica of Saint Pudentiana is now sunk below the street level, as new layers of buildings have been built up around it. In the 1920s, the church required such an extensive renovation that an alternative station was appointed for this day at the church of St Agatha. From 1556 to 1565, the Cardinal-Priest of this church was Scipione Rebiba; the vast majority of Latin Rite Catholic bishops (and therefore the priests ordained by them) today derive their Apostolic succession from this man through Pope Benedict XIII (1724-30).

I have described the mosaic in the apse of this church in an article published on the titular Saint’s feast day, May 19th, in 2020.
One of the inscriptions which is mounted into the walls of the gallery that runs behind the church’s main sanctuary, and reads, “Corn(eliae) Pudentianeti / benem(erenti) q(uae) vixit an(nos) XLVII / d(iem) I Val(erius) Petronius mat(ri) / dulc(i) in pace. – To Cornelia Pudentianes, well-deserving, who lived for 47 years and one day; Valerius Petronius (made this) for his sweet mother (who rests) in peace.”
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent – St Xystus
This church has been closed for so long that we have never once shown it in this series, which first ran in 2014.
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent – SS Cosmas and Damian
Friday of the Third Week of Lent – St Lawrence “in Lucina”
Saturday of the Third Week of Lent – St Susanna
Also under restoration.
Laetare Sunday – Holy Cross in Jerusalem
and this one, both Jacob and Agnese had to miss. 
Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent – The Four Crowned Martyrs
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent – St Lawrence “in Damaso”
This church is nicknamed for the Pope who founded it, St Damasus I (366-384), in honor of St Lawrence, who has more churches dedicated to him in Rome than do Ss Peter and Paul. It was rebuilt in the 1ater 15th-century, in such a way that it is almost completely enclosed by the Palazzo della Cancelleria, the Papal chancery building; the procession before the Mass is held within the Cancelleria’s courtyard.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: