Monday, March 15, 2010

Station Church: Santi Quattro Coronati

Today we visited the church of Santi Quattro Coronati. I am unsure what the correct English translation would be here, perhaps the four holy crowned ones. It refers to two groups of martyrs from the time of the Roman persecutions. The first set were four soldiers, Severus, Victorinus, Carpophorus, and Severinus who refused to worship a pagan deity and were killed. The idea of crowning may perhaps have come from a military decoration of a small crown that they received during their service.

The second set was a group of five stonemasons, Claudius, Nicostratus, Sempronianus, Castor, and Simplicius who were martyred because they refused to carve a statue of Asclepius.

photo by xti_8143b

The oldest parts of this church date back to a hall built here in the 4th century. Some time before 595 this became one of the titular churches in Rome. It was in 630 that Honorius I built the first purpose-built church on the site and in the 9th century when Leo IV placed the relics of the nine martyrs underneath the altar. In 1084 it was almost completely destroyed by a Norman attack and was rebuilt in 1116.

In 1560 Augustinian nuns moved in and have remained until this day. There are also some new occupants. The Little Sisters of the Lamb have taken up residence here as well. These sisters are very new, founded within the last 20 some years, and have even taken up a post in Kansas City, Kansas. They have found their way back to a very simple religious life, begging for their meals, and sharing the Gospel will all those they meet. They are amazing revolutionaries of our day and age - changing the world through their love.

An interesting note for any West Coast readers, this is actually the titular church of Cardinal Mahony. The elections of the pope from early on in the Church were usually done by the local clergy of Rome. This practice was eventually standardized in the 11th century with the institution of cardinals who were senior clergy in Rome, each serving in a particular parish. Cardinals today are much more international yet they receive a titular church here in Rome to signify their honorary status as members of the clergy of Rome and therefore their duty to elect a new pontiff.

photo by Michael Tinkler

Today's readings remind us once again to trust in the Lord. We cannot expect signs and wonders but we can expect that God will answer us according to His will and desire and ultimately for our salvation.

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

For more info on the Station Church series click here.


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