Monday, March 22, 2010

San Crisogono

We are almost there. It's the last week of Lent! Today we visited the church of San Crisogono which may perhaps be the site of the oldest purpose-built church in Rome.

photo by ndalls

It is named after a 4th century military officer who was martyred in 304. His cult became popular and his name would eventually be included in one of the Eucharistic prayers (the Roman Canon). As soon as the persecutions were over, a large hall was constructed on this site. This would have even been before the Edict of Milan which granted religious freedom throughout the Roman Empire.

photo by jrm_tomburg

The remains you see above are from the first church building. The current church building is from around the 12th century. In the mid 19th century, the church was placed in the care of the Trinitarian Order which still serves here today. Their original purpose was to free Christian slaves. Inside the church, at the end of one of the aisles, is a chapel dedicated to Jesus the Nazarene. This chapel has a lot of significance for the Trinitarians. When negotiations to free slaves were successful, a statue of Jesus the Nazarene was used as a sign of the freedom of the slaves.

photo by jdtreat

Today's readings remind us that Christ is the light of the world and though we walk in darkness, though we struggle under our slavery to our own sinfulness, and perhaps struggle to accept the knowledge of how weak we are, He is at our side to walk with us. We are never alone in our battle to live free from sin. As the psalm today says, "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side."

For more info about this church check out pnac or wiki.


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