Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sant' Anastasia

Hey Ya'll.

Today's Station Church is Sant' Anastasia (Saint Anastaisa to the layman..haha). I myself am actually covering this one.

This Church is located right beside Rome's famous Circus Maximus--one of the great symbols of the Roman Empire. If you have ever scene Ben-Hur, the Circus would have resembled the famous scene with the chariot race.

Little is known about St. Anastasia. We know she died as a martyr in Sirmium, which is located in modern day Serbia. Her "cult" (a term for a group who honor and and inspired by the example of a particular saint--for example, we could talk about the "cult of St. Augustine" or the "cult of Blessed Mother Theresa") arrived in Rome at the end of the fifth century and began to worship at this Church which was built by Pope Damsus in the late fourth century.

Another saint associated with this Church is St. Jerome--the man who dedicated his life to translating the entire Bible into Latin (the common language of the time). His translation of the Bible is known as the Vulgate Bible. It was a great gift to the world seeing that it made God's Holy Word accessible to common people all over the known world. Tradition holds that St. Jerome would daily celebrate Mass at this Church while staying in Rome. People speculate that St. Jerome chose to stay and worship at this Church because he and St. Anastasia came from the same region in present day Serbia.

One other interesting historical fact, is that this Church served as the chapel to the "exarch"--governor and representative-- of the Byzantine Emperor. The exarch would have lived nearby on top of Rome's famous Palatine hill. Because of this, the Pope would come every Christmas morning and celebrate Mass for the exarch as a sign of welcome and courtesy. Because of all these reasons and more, it remains today an important and sacred place in Rome.

This Church also has a beautiful Perpetual Adoration Chapel. This means that the Eucharist is placed in a special glass sanctuary called a "monstrance" and set upon an altar for all to see. Catholics believe that at Mass, simple bread and wine are mystically transformed into the body, blood, soul, and divinity (see John 6) of Jesus Christ. This is what Catholics call the Eucharist. So, in a "Perpetual Adoration Chapel," people organize themselves to come and adore Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, pray for the intentions of the world, be in God's presence, and listen to their Lord and Savior. In such a chapel, the church makes sure that somebody is present every hour of every day of every year. Pretty sweet deal hunh?

There is actually such a chapel in Montgomery, AL where I am from located at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church on Narrow Lane Rd. Such chapels, for me, are the most peaceful places I have ever known.

OK. Here are some shots from the Church.

A bit out of focus, but captures the interior of the Church

The facade of St. Anastasia

A beautiful marble statue of St. Anastasia fit into the altar

Me and another good friend from West Virginia--Tom Gallagher. By far, I think Tom has the best nickname in the College--"Teagles." Etymology: T-Gallagher--->T-Galls-->Teagles. Too notice our kindred bond resting upon our respective upper lips.

Psychedelic version of us

OK Ya'll. Thank God for you and this day.

May the Peace and Joy of Christ come into our hearts more fully this day and every day as we prepare for Easter.

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