Monday, March 29, 2010

Station Church: Santa Prassede

Holy Week has arrived. Today we made our way to Santa Prassede which lies down near the Basilica of Mary Major in the center of town.

photo by jimforest

She is traditionally said to be the sister of St. Pudenziana and joined her sister in the collection of the bodies of martyrs. It is believed she suffered martyrdom along with her sister. There was a church named after her as late as the end of the fifth century and was first based in an apartment block nearby. It was only in the early ninth century that the church was replaced with the current church. Following St. Prassede's devotion to the martyrs, Pope St. Paschal I brought the relics of 2300 martyrs from the catacombs to rest here.

One of the famous relics in this church is a column that was brought here in 1223 from Constantinople that was said to be the same column on which the flagellation of Christ took place.

photo by wm_archiv

St. Charles Borromeo was a cardinal titular here in the late 16th century and did a lot for the physical structure of the church as well as ministering to the people of the area, going so far as to invite the poor to eat at his table. This table is now part of the church in the chapel of St. Veronica.

This church has a beautiful mosaic in the apse drawing from the book of Revelation. The lower section depicts the 24 elders while above is the Lamb surrounded by 7 candlesticks and the four living creatures. Christ is in the middle with Saints Peter and Paul beside him as well as Saints Prassede and Pudenziana, Pope St. Paschal I with another blue halo, and St. Zeno.

photo by Allie_Caulfield

One of the most brilliants works from the medieval period is also found here in the side chapel of St. Zeno which was built for the tomb of Pope St. Paschal's mother Theodora. Check it out below.

photo by sjmcdonough

In today's readings Jesus is anointed by Mary as a symbolic preparation for his death and burial. And she does this in love. We too this Lent have given of ourselves through penance and prayer in order to move farther away from sin and move more closely to our Lord in love. Today let us push on in our journey to the cross and the empty tomb, knowing that our loving efforts through God's grace, most especially the gift of his Son upon the cross, will bring us to a joyful reunion one day with our Lord in paradise.

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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