Saturday, March 30, 2024

Roman Sacrament Altars 2024

One of the contributors to our station churches series this year, Fr Joseph Koczera, SJ, has kindly shared with his photographs of a few of the altars of repose in Roman churches; not a large number, because he spent most of the evening of Holy Thursday at the church of the Pontifical Russian College, for the Matins of the Twelve Gospels, one of the longest and most beautiful ceremonies in the Byzantine Rite.

Here we see the church of the Russicum, as it usually called, on one of the first days of Holy Week.
An icon of the Man of Sorrows is set up in the middle of the church, of the type known as the Bridegroom, from the opening words of the troparion of Matins: Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the midst of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and again, unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Take care, therefore, oh my soul, lest thou be borne down with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out of the kingdom; but rouse thyself, crying, Holy, Holy, Holy are Thou O God. Through the Mother of God, have mercy on us!
On the evening of Holy Thursday, this large cross is set in the middle of the church, and a Gospel book placed in front of it. At the Matins of Good Friday, which is very often anticipated to this evening, Twelve Gospel accounts of the Passion are added to the usual order of the service.

Although churches of the Byzantine Rite do not make an altar of the repose, the church remains open until midnight, as do the Roman Rite churches.

Santa Maria Maggiore is right down the street.
The first altar of repose at the church of St Praxedes, which is nowadays generally entered through this very unassuming door at the end of a very boring alley.
San Martino ai Monti
Santa Maria ai Monti, which, when it was built in 1580, was the second church entrusted to the Jesuit order. It is now a parish church of the diocese of Rome, and is most frequently visited by pilgrims wishing to see the tomb of St Benedict-Joseph Labre in one of the side-altars.
Santa Caterina a Magnanopoli, the Roman church of the Italian military ordinariate.
Vespers of Good Friday at the Russicum.

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