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Dies Non II

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

A second day out and this time Thursday was spent in Rome, and more specifically around the Coelian Hills. This section of Rome still within the old Aurelian walls, contains some of the oldest churches in Rome that date back to the 4th century, and links to some major figures in early church history.

The first church we stopped by was the Basilica di San Clemente. Named after St Clement I of Rome, whom is recognized as been the 4th bishop of Rome 88-99AD, or what we now call Pope. It is commonly held that he was ordained and taught by St Peter. He is also know as the first "Apostolic Fathers". What is significant about this church is that there are three layers that date back to the first century AD. The top church was constructed around the 12th century, with an 18th century front. The next layer below is the basilica that dates back the 4th century and the layer below that dates to the first century which is believed to be a mansion of a Roman covert who housed St Clement and was believed to be used an early church as well.

Main altar and nave of current basilica.

Eucharist chapel to the left of main altar.

Main altar and nave of 4th century basilica. This lower section of the basilica is a fairly recent re-opening as it was filled in on commencement of building the current basilica. In 1857 the Dominican Priest in charge of the basilica Fr Joseph Mullooly, (it is an Irish community) began excavations to see what was under the basilica and eventually discovered an even lower 3rd section below this, which dates back to the first century, and is nearly 20m below surface level.

Altar and nave from the left side. This section has been completely cleaned out and restructured to take the weight of top basilica and provide a well lit and safe space for pilgrims. Unfortunately I was unable to get and of the 3rd level as photography is discouraged.

A short walk up the road past some remnant of the Aurelian walls......


.....and we arrived at Chiesa Di San Stefano Rotondo ( Church of St Stephen in the round). Our tour guide and 2nd year seminarian Phil in the gate.

We actually encountered a bit of rain today, a change from nearly perfect weather from the last month.

St Stefano Rotondo is unique as it is built in the round style with the altar in the middle, this was inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Built in the 5th century, it has been undergoing recent reservations in the last few decades to bring it back to its former glory.

Eucharist Chapel.

This church is dedicated to the martyrs of the church as St Stephen was one of the first, and it has depictions of martyrs and all round the wall. I could depict a few as I could read some of he names, many I couldn't but I suspect a lot were just general and could have been many saints.

The original, JC, I think it the artist is depicting all the saints around Jesus that were to follow Him into martyrdom in the future.

St Stephen.

A bishop holding his head, with other martyrs in the background.

Saints being mutilated with swords' and crushed by large stones.

Devoured by dogs and wild beasts. Although it does not look like those dogs are too ferocious.

This one looks like St John the Apostle, plunged into a pot of boiling oil some accounts say that he escaped from this died of old age.

Someone being buried alive.

Finally they also had a lovely fresco of Our Lady of Sorrows.

This week has been the start of our lectures so I probably not be posting as often. I will endeavor to post the main highlights. Some events coming up are our college opening day next week, with dignitaries in attendance. Also there is a five a side football (soccer) comp coming up on 29th of October, between the British and Irish seminary's in Rome.

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