Station Churches of Rome

Station Churches of the 6th and last Week of Lent

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Sunday: St. John Lateran (again) - the Papal Basilica and Palace now stand on the property originally owned by the Roman Platius Lateranus, before being "borrowed" by Constantine and given to the Church.
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5 Ecumenical Councils were held in the Lateran, and the Popes resided here for a thousand years (4th-14th centuries). Notice the original dedication to Christo Salvatori - Christ the Savior.
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Through sackings, fires and earthquakes, the Basilica has been restored many times, with the current interior dating primarily to the 17th century (by Borromini).
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Detail of the beautiful canopy above the main altar, with 2 silver gilded busts which contain the heads of the apostles Peter and Paul.
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View of the crypt below the main altar with a statue of St. John the Baptist (who the Church was dedicated to in the 10th century).
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There are magnificent statues of the 12 apostles throughout the nave. Here is St. Peter.
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The baptistery behind the Lateran Basilica dates to the 4th century and served as a prototype for almost all early baptisteries.
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The interior is formed with 8 porphyry columns from the imperial palace, with a row of smaller white columns above. A circular basin was used in ancient times for baptism by immersion, not a baptismal font stands in the basin.
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The octagonal cupola is decorated with paintings depicting the life of St. John the Baptist
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Large frescos decorate the interior walls: here is the Apparition of the Cross to Constantine, who then carried the sign into the decisive battle at the Milvian bridge.
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Very appropriately a baptism was taking place in one of the side chapels as I was visiting. This space intentionally left blank.
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Monday: St. Praxedis (Prassede) - one of the original 25 parishes Churches of Rome. St. Praxedes was daughter of Senator Pudens and sister of St. Pudentiana, and in a house at this location sheltered persecuted Christians.
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Rebuilt in the early 9th century by Pope St. Pascal I, who to safeguards the relics of saints, brought them here under the altar and in a side chapel to St. Zeno. It is said some 2,300 were placed here, most "known to God alone."
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When 23 Christians were discovered in the home of St. Praxedis, they were killed before her eyes. She collected their blood with a sponge and placed it in a well, where she herself was later buried, marked by the disk here in the floor.
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A large painting on the wall, showing the scene of the scourging of Christ at the pillar, very appropriate here...
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As the Church has a chapel with half of the Pillar at which Our Lord was Scourged.
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There is also a chapel with vestments and articles of clothing that belonged to Pope St. Pius X. St. Charles Borromeo frequently celebrated Mass in this, his titular Church.
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The 9th. century Byzantine style mosaic in the apse shows Christ flanked by saints: Peter and Paul placing their arms around the shoulders of Sts. Presides and Pudentiana.
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Tuesday: St. Prisca, a young girl of noble birth baptized by St. Peter at age 13. Condemned to be eaten by a lion, it is said the lion only licked her feet and didn't hurt her, so she was later behead. Her body was moved here in 280.
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The church has sometimes been confused with Sts. Priscilla and Aquila, whose house was discovered close to the Church in 1776. If was they who received St. Peter as a guest when he arrived at Rome, St. Prisca living nearby.
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The painting showing St. Peter baptizing St. Prisca probably isn't accurate, as he probably practiced baptism by immersion in water, not just pouring.
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Yesterday was the last of the station churches, as established by Pope Gregory the Great. From today onwards, the station churches take place in the Major Basilicas. Wednesday: St. Mary Major Thursday and Saturday: St. John Lateran or photos above Friday: S. Croce in Gerusalemme

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