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Seven Churches Walk

Updated: Mar 28

Every lent for about 500 years in Rome there was a tradition of walking the seven Churches, that was started by St Alphonsus Liguri. It was originally conceived as a devotion for pilgrims traveling to the city, and usually included a picnic lunch somewhere. The churches include St Peter's, St Lawrence, St Mary Major, St John Lateran, Church of the Holy Cross, St Sebastian and finally st Paul's Basilica. In total it is about 22 km walk and takes most of the day.

This year once again students from the Beda set out on the day long hike, first stop St Peter's.

St. Peter's setting up for the chrism mass.

The chrism oils for mass tomorrow.

Second stop Santa Maria Maggiore.

The altar adorned with all the relics

Third church was St Lawrence outside the walls. This was a difficult church to get to mainly because it shuts at 12pm and stays closed till 3pm. Miss this and would throw our whole day out.

The altar at St Lawrence with St Lawrence tomb underneath. St Lawrence was a deacon in Rome in the 3rd century and was martyred on a barbeque.

St Lawrence tomb.

A bit of a surprise in St Lawrence, we managed to get access to the lower chamber which was the original church which now holds the body of Pope Pius IX. The chapel is decorated with some of the best mosaics I have seen in Rome and indeed anywhere, the details are astounding and they adorn the floor the walls and the ceiling.

Church if the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. As you can see it was a pretty cold and wet day in Rome which made the trek a bit more challenging.

The reliquary chapel behind the main church. Brother Honorious in prayer.

The fragments of the Holy Cross are contained in the crisifix and the inscription King of the Jews is just below it along with a nail from the crucifixion of Jesus.

Church number 5, Basilica of St John Lateran is just down the road from the Holy Cross Church. A state of St Francis of Assisi and his companions entering Rome to ask for the approval of the Franciscan order.

St John Lateran is always a stunning church to visit, today was no exception. St John Lateran is celebrating 1700 year's scince it first was commissioned in 323 AD. There have been a few updates scince then however.

St John the Baptist statue underneath the main alter.

The ex- cathedral chair where the Pope sits when he proclaims infallible dogma.

Along the Old Apian way still raining and doging cars.

A five kilometre hike out of town among the catecums to get to St Sebastian's but along the way we stopped at the Church of Domine Quo Vidas. In English 'Lord where are you going?' These words uttered by St Peter as he crossed paths with Jesus as he was leaving the city of Rome due to Nero's persecution of the Christian's. Jesus reply was I'm going to be crucified again. Peter believing that it would be better for he to flee to safety and continue to grow the church. But after this encounter he returned to Rome and became a martyre. This is all legend but it does make for a very interning story.

In the church is the reconstructed path with a replica of the feet of Jesus left in the white marble stone with cage over the top. Jesus is painted on one side of the wall.

And St Peter on the other wall.

Eventually we arrived at St Sebastian's Basilica, the 6th Church.

St Sebastian's sculpture above the catecumes where he is believed to be buried. The site dates back to the Church dates back to the early 4th century when Emperor Constantine had the first church built over the catecumes.

Off we set for the final church back close to home for St Paul's Basilica another three and a half kilometres, the weather was starting to ease up a bit we had covered nearly 20 kilometres in the day over 8 hours. St Paul's was looking as splendid as usual and was time get some well earned rest and prepare for the Easter weekend celebratings.

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