Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2023 (Part 1)

This year marks the tenth time we have run this series on the Lenten station churches in Rome! However, the professional circumstances of our dear friend Agnese, the original Roman pilgrim, have changed of late, such that she will likely be unable to attend many of them this time around. In past years, she has sometimes been joined in this series by other people; one of them, Mr Jacob Stein, whose work we have shared many times, will be providing most of the photos this year, as well as videos from his YouTube channel Crux Stationalis. We thank him for helping us to keep up one of our favorite Lenten traditions, and we are very pleased to begin this year’s series by wishing him a very happy birthday: ad multos annos, optime!

Thursday after Ash Wednesday – San Giorgio in Velabro
His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, comes each year to personally celebrated the station in his title church, which he holds in the illustrious company of (among many others) Bl. John Henry Newman; his predecessor in the title was Alphonse Card. Stickler.
Friday after Ash Wednesday – Ss John and Paul
The building within which the lower part of the church’s medieval bell-tower is now partially enclosed is the generalate of the Passionist order. Their founder, St Paul of the Cross, had a brother named Giovanni Battista (John the Baptist), himself now a Venerable, to whom he was very close, and who was instrumental in helping him found the order. Many years after the latter’s death, Pope Clement XIV (1769-74) gave the basilica to St Paul to be the first “retreat”, as the order’s houses are called, in Rome, in remembrance of his beloved brother, since the martyrs John and Paul were also brothers.
“The entrance to Ss John and Paul, Crispus, Crispinian and Benedicta.” In 1887, a member of the Passionist community, Fr Germanus of St Stanislaus, began to dig under the church, hoping to identify the precise location of the martyrs’ burial. His excavation led to the discovery of a complex of twenty rooms from several different periods (late-1st to mid-5th centuries), which can now be visited by the public. (The relationship of the three other martyrs to John and Paul is not entirely clear.)
Saturday after Ash Wednesday – St Trypho
In the Roman Missal, the Station is listed at a church called St Trypho, which was demolished in 1595. The relics of Trypho and his companions, Respicius and Nympha, were transferred along with the Lenten Station to the nearby church of St Augustine, and now repose in the high altar. This church is particularly diligent in bringing out all of its relics for the station day.
The First Sunday of Lent – St John in the Lateran
Monday of the First Week of Lent – St Peter in Chains

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