Monday, 27 March 2017

In The Choir Of Aachen Cathedral.

English: In The Choir Of Aachen Cathedral.
Deutsch: Im Chor des Münsters zu Aachen. Signiert. Datiert 1890.
Artist: Franz Stegmann.
Date: 1890.
Author: Franz Stegmann (1831–1892).
(Wikimedia Commons)

Monday Of The Fourth Week In Lent. Lenten Station At The Basilica Of The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs (Santi Quattro Coronati).

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Monday of The Fourth Week in Lent.
Station at The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs.

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.

Violet Vestments.

The First Courtyard, with The Guard Tower,
of The Basilica of Santi Quattro Coronati
(The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs),
Rome, Italy.
Photo: November 2005.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Station is on Mount Caelius, in a Church erected in the 7th-Century A.D. in honour of The Four Officers of The Roman Army, who, having refused to adore a statue of Aesculapius, received The Crown of Martyrdom. These were "The Four Crowned Ones", whose Relics are Venerated in this Sanctuary, together with the head of the Martyr, Saint Sebastian, an Officer of The Army of Emperor Diocletian. This Basilica was one of the twenty-five Parish Churches of Rome in the
5th-Century A.D.

The Epistle relates to us the famous Judgement of Solomon. One of the two women who appealed to his justice, having suffocated her child, whilst asleep, was jealous of her rival, whose son was living. She represents the Synagogue, whose rulers, by their indifference, had stifled Religious Life in Israel and who were jealous of the Gentiles, to whom the Church had given life through Baptism and Penance. Penitents and Catechumens prepared themselves for Baptism and Penance during Lent. Let us also prepare ourselves for our Easter Confession.

The Wisdom of Solomon, admired by the whole World, is a figure of the wisdom of the true Solomon, whose doctrine comes to regenerate the world. The Gospel of today establishes another superiority of Jesus over His Royal Ancestor: Solomon had built a Temple, rich beyond compare. Jesus, speaking of His Own Body, throws this challenge to His enemies: "Destroy this Temple, and in Three Days I will raise It up." He Rises, indeed, The Third Day after His Death. From The Church, His Mystical Body, He drives out the unworthy, as He had driven out The Sellers from the Temple, and receives into it all those who believe in Him.

Let us make ourselves pleasing to God, in body and in Soul, by the Religious Observance of The Holy Practices of Lent.

Mass: Deus, in nómine.

The Internal Courtyard
of The Basilica of Santi Quattro Coronati
(The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs),
Rome, Italy.
Photo: September 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient Minor Basilica in Rome. The original Church dates back to the 4th- or 5th-Century A.D., and is devoted to four anonymous Saints and Martyrs. The complex of the Basilica, with its two Courtyards, the fortified Cardinal Palace with the Saint Sylvester Chapel, and the Monastery, with its cosmatesque Cloister, is built in a silent and green part of Rome, between the Colosseum and San Giovanni-in-Laterano.

"Santi Quattro Coronati" means "The Four Holy Crowned Ones" [i.e. Martyrs], and refers to the fact that the Saints' names are not known, and therefore referred to with their number, and that they were Martyrs, since the Crown, together with the Branches of Palm, is an ancient symbol of Martyrdom.

According to The Passion of Saint Sebastian, The Four Saints were Soldiers, who refused to sacrifice to Aesculapius, and therefore were killed by order of Emperor Diocletian (284 A.D. - 305 A.D.). The bodies of the Martyrs were buried in the Cemetery of Santi Marcellino e Pietro, on the fourth mile of via Labicana, by Pope Miltiades and Saint Sebastian (whose Skull is preserved in the Church). Pope Miltiades decided that the Martyrs should be Venerated with the names of Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronianus and Castorius. The bodies of the Martyrs are kept in four ancient Sarcophagi in the Crypt. According to a lapid, dated 1123, the Head of one of The Four Martyrs is buried in Santa Maria-in-Cosmedin.

Tradition holds the first Church was begun by Pope Miltiades in the 4th-Century A.D., on the North Side of The Caelian Hill. One of the first Churches of Rome, it bore the Titulus "Aemilianae", from the name of the Foundress, who probably owned the elaborate Roman villa, whose structure is evident under the Church. The Church was completed at the end of the 6th-Century A.D., and, because of its proximity to the Mediaeval Papal residence of The Lateran Palace, it became prominent in its day.

The first renovations occurred under Pope Leo IV (847 A.D. - 855 A.D.), who built the Crypt under the Nave, added Side Aisles, enclosed the Courtyard before the facade, and built the Bell-Tower and the Chapels of Saint Barbara and Saint Nicholas. The Basilica, Carolingian in Style, was ninety-five metres long and fifty metres wide.

Interior of The Basilica of
The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs,
Rome, Italy.
Photo: May 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa
(Wikimedia Commons)

This Church, however, was burned to the ground by Robert Guiscard's Troops during the Norman Sack of Rome (1084). Instead of re-building the original Basilica to scale, Pope Paschal II built a smaller Basilica with two Courtyards, one in front of the other; the first corresponding to the original 9th-Century A.D. Courtyard, while the second was sited over the initial part of the Nave. The two Aisles were included in The Cardinal Palace and in The Benedictine Monastery, Founded by Pope Paschal II. The original Apse of The Basilica, however, was preserved, and seems over-sized for the new Church, whose Nave was divided into three parts by means of Columns. The new Church was Consecrated on 20 January 1116. In 1338, it was a possession of Sassovivo Abbey.

English: Sassovivo Abbey, Perugia, Italy.
This Abbey owned The Basilica of
The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs in 1338.
Italiano: Abbazia di Sassovivo,
Foligno, Perugia, Umbria, Italy.
Photo: September 2007.
This File: 29 September 2007.
User: Cantalamessa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In the 13th-Century, a Cosmatesque Cloister was added. Cosmatesque, or Cosmati, is a Style of geometric decorative inlay stonework, typical of Mediaeval Italy, and especially of Rome and its surroundings. It was used most extensively for the decoration of Church floors, but was also used to decorate Church Walls, Pulpits, and Bishop's Thrones. The name derives from the Cosmati, the leading family workshop of Marble Craftsmen in Rome, who created such geometrical decorations. The style spread across Europe, where it was used in the most prestigious Churches; The High Altar of Westminster Abbey, for example, is decorated with a Cosmatesque Marble Floor.

The Cardinal Palace was enlarged by Cardinal Stefano Conti, a nephew of Pope Innocent III. Cardinal Conti also transformed the Palace into a Fortress, to shelter Popes in The Lateran during the Conflict with the Hohenstaufen Emperors. In 1247, the Chapel of Saint Sylvester, on the Ground Floor of the Fortress, was Consecrated; it contains frescoes depicting stories of Pope Silvester I and Emperor Constantine I. Painted in the backdrop of political struggles between Pope Innocent IV and the freshly-Excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, the frescoes are meant to underscore the desired Sovereignty of The Church (Pope Silvester I) over the Empire (Emperor Constantine).

In the 13th-Century, a Cosmatesque Cloister was added.
to The Basilica of The Four Holy Crowned Martyrs (Santi Quattro Coronati).
Above, is a Cosmatesque screen,
Rome, Italy.
Photo: September 2005.
(Wikimedia Commons)

When the Popes moved to Avignon (14th-Century), the Cardinal Palace fell into ruin. Thus, upon the return of the Popes to Rome, with Pope Martin V, a Restoration was necessary. However, when The Papal Residence moved from The Lateran to The Vatican Palace, this Basilica lost importance. In 1564, Pope Pius IV entrusted The Basilica and the buildings to The Augustinians, who still serve it.

The interest in the history of this complex renewed in 1913, thanks to the work of The Fine Arts Superintendent Antonio Muñoz. Once the building became an orphanage, The Augustinian Nuns put a revolving drum by its entrance, which was used as a "Deposit Box" for unwanted babies.

The Apse contains the frescoes (1630) by Giovanni da San Giovanni of The Four Patron Martyr Saints. The Altarpiece on the Left Nave, of San Sebastiano curato da Lucina e Irene, was painted by Giovanni Baglione. The Second Courtyard holds the Entrance to The Oratorio di San Silvestro, with frescoes of Mediaeval origin, as well as others by Raffaellino da Reggio.

Pope Pius IV
(Pope from 1559-1565)
entrusted The Basilica to The Augustinians.

Santi Quattro Coronati has belonged to The Titular Churches of Rome from at least the end of the 6th-Century A.D. Among the previous Titulars are Pope Leo IV (847 A.D.), King Henry of Portugal, who, in 1580, donated the magnificent Wooden Ceiling, and Pope Benedict XV (1914). The full list is known only from The Pontificate of Gregory VII (1073-1085).

In 2002, art historian Andreina Draghi discovered an amazing display of frescoes, dating back to the 13th-Century, while restoring The Gothic Hall of The Monastery. Most of the scenes were well preserved under a thick layer of plaster, and represented The Twelve Months, The Liberal Arts, The Four Seasons and The Zodiac. The image of King Solomon, a pious judge, painted on the Northern Wall, led scholars to argue the room was meant to be a Hall of Justice. Plaster was possibly laid after the 1348 Black Death for hygienic reasons, or, perhaps in the 15th-Century, when the Camaldolese left the Monastery.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Launch Of A New Confraternity In Bannockburn, Stirling, Scotland. On Saturday, 13 May 2017. 1000 hrs.

Text and Illustration from: LMS CHAIRMAN

Launching a new Confraternity in Scotland: Saturday, 13 May 2017.

Further details from:

The event will take place in Bannockburn, Stirling, Scotland, and the proposed format is as follows:

At The Church of The Holy Spirit, 1, McGrigor Road, Stirling FK7 9BL.

From 1000 hrs (To Be Confirmed):
Holy Hour. Concluding with Benediction of The Blessed Sacrament;

1100 hrs:
Procession from Holy Spirit Church to Our Lady and Saint Ninian's Church. With Traditional Devotions;

At The Church of Our Lady and Saint Ninian, 52, Quakerfield, Bannockburn,
      Stirling FK7 8HZ.

1200 hrs:
Sung Mass;

1400 hrs;
Inaugural Meeting to Formally Establish The Arch-Confraternity.

Saturday, 13 May 2017, will be the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady's First Apparition at Fatima, so we will also incorporate the Devotions necessary to obtain the Plenary Indulgence associated with the Centenary.

The Fourth Sunday In Lent. Lenten Station At The Basilica Of The Holy Cross-In-Jerusalem.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

The Fourth Sunday in Lent.
   Station at The Church of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem.

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.


Privilege of The First Class.

Violet, or Rose, Vestments.

English: Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem.
Italiano: Basilica di Santa Croce-in-Gerusalemme, Rome.
Latin: Basilica Sanctae Crucis-in-Hierusalem.
One of the masterpieces of the "Barochetto Romano",
by Pietro Passalacqua and Domenico Gregorini, from 1743.
Photo: February 2006.
Author: Anthony M. from Rome, Italy.
(Wikimedia Commons)

During this week, the history of Moses is read by The Church in The Divine Office, in which two main lines of thought are summarised. On the one hand, we see Moses rescuing God's people from the bondage of Egypt and bringing them safely across The Red Sea. On the other, we see him nourishing them with Manna in the desert; foretelling to them that God will send "The Prophet" (Gospel), in other words, The Messias; giving them The Law of Sinai; and leading them towards The Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. There, one day, Jerusalem (Communion) will rise from the ground with its Temple made after the pattern of The Tabernacle in the desert, and thither will the tribes of Israel go up to sing of what God has done for His people (Introit, Gradual, Communion). "Let my people go, that they may sacrifice to Me in the desert," said God to Pharao, through Moses.

In today's Mass, we see how these types have been fulfilled. For the true Moses is Christ, Who has delivered us from the bondage of sin (ibid.); and made us pass through The Waters of Baptism; Who feeds us with His Eucharist, of which the multiplication of the loaves is a type, and Who has brought us into the true Jerusalem, The Church, Figure of Heaven, where we shall sing forever the "Canticle of Moses and of The Lamb (Apocalypse) in thanksgiving to The Lord for His Infinite Mercies to us.

It is, therefore, quite natural that The Station, today, should be made in Rome at The Church of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem. For Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, who lived on Mount Coelius, in a Palace known as The Sessorian Mansion, with the purpose of placing there some Relics of The True Cross, converted it into a Sanctuary, which in some sense represents Jerusalem in Rome.

Basilica di Santa Croce-in-Gerusalemme,
Rome, Italy.
Photo: September 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Introit, Communion, and Tract, speak to us of Jerusalem, compared to Mount Sinai by Saint Paul in the Epistle for today. There, will the Christian people best raise their song of joy, "Laetare" (Introit, Epistle) on account of the victory won by Our Lord on The Cross at Jerusalem, and there, most easily, will be roused the memory of The Heavenly Jerusalem, whose Gates have been opened to us by The Death of Christ.

It is for this reason, that, formerly on this day, it was the custom, in this same Church, Solemnly to Bless a Rose, the Queen of Flowers. For, as we are reminded by the forms used for the Blessing, in the Traditional practice of Christian iconography, Heaven is usually represented by a Garden, beautiful with flowers. For this Blessing, Rose-Coloured Vestments were used, and on this day a Priest may Celebrate Mass and The Office in Vestments of this colour.

Rose-coloured Vestments can be worn on Laetare Sunday
(Fourth Sunday in Lent) and Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday in Advent).

Hence, this custom was extended to The Third Sunday of Advent, "Gaudete", or, "Rejoicing" Sunday, which, coming in the middle of Advent, stimulates us with a Holy Joy, to continue with courage our toilsome preparation for The Coming of The Lord. And, in its turn, "Laetare", also "Rejoicing" Sunday, is a halting place in the midst of The Lenten Observance.

English: The Ceiling,
Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem,
Rome, Italy.
Italiano: Santa Croce-in-Gerusalemme (Rome).
Painting by Corrado Giaquinto, from 1744,
"The Virgin presents Saint Helena and Emperor Constantine to The Trinity".
Photo: February 2006.
Author: Anthony M. from Rome, Italy.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Here, in The Church of Calvary at Rome, that is, of The Cross, our hope, The Church, sends a Ray of Light upon our Souls to stir us up to persevere in the struggle against the World, the flesh and the devil, until The Great Feast of Easter is reached.

"Rejoice, rejoice with joy," we are told in the Introit, for, having died to sin with Our Lord during Lent, we are shortly to rise with Him by The Paschal Confession and Communion. The Gospel speaks at one and the same time of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, symbols of The Eucharist and of Baptism, which were formerly received on the same occasion at Easter, and, in the Epistle, allusion is made to our deliverance by The Sacrament of Baptism, which The Catechumens formerly received at this Season.

And, if we have had the misfortune to grievously offend Almighty God, we shall recover our freedom by means of our Easter Confession. In the Epistle, the story of Sara and Agar becomes thus an allegory, reminding us that Christ has freed us from the bondage of sin.

Every Parish Priest celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.

Mass: Laetáre, Jerúsalem.

Pope Lucius II (1144 - 1145)
restored the Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

The Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem (Latin: Basilica Sanctae Crucis in Hierusalem, Italian: Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme) is a Roman Catholic Parish Church and Minor Basilica in Rome. It is one of The Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome.

According to Tradition, the Basilica was Consecrated around 325 A.D., to house the Passion Relics brought to Rome from The Holy Land by Saint Helena of Constantinople, mother of The Roman Emperor, Constantine I. At that time, the Basilica floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem,
thus acquiring the Title "in Hierusalem" - it is not Dedicated to The Holy Cross, which is in Jerusalem, but the Church itself is "in Jerusalem" in the sense that a "piece" of Jerusalem was moved to Rome for its Foundation. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Crucis in Hierusalem is Miloslav Vlk.

The Church is built around a room in Saint Helena's Imperial Palace, Palazzo Sessoriano, which she adapted to a Chapel, around the year 320 A.D. Some decades later, the Chapel was turned into a true Basilica, called the Heleniana or Sessoriana. After falling into neglect, the Church was restored by Pope Lucius II (1144-1145). It assumed a Romanesque appearance, with a Nave and two Aisles, a Belfry and a Porch.

The Church was also modified, in the 16th-Century, but it assumed its current Baroque appearance under Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758), who had been The Titular of the Basilica, prior to his elevation to The Papacy. New streets were also opened to connect the Church to two other Major Roman Basilicas, San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore. The façade of Santa Croce, designed by Pietro Passalacqua and Domenico Gregorini, shares the typical Late-Roman Baroque taste with these other Basilicas.

Archduke Albert.
Albert was The Archduke of Austria, Albrecht der Fromme, Erzherzog von Österreich München,
Peter Paul Rubens, who had arrived in Rome by way of Mantua in 1601,
was commissioned by Archduke Albert of Austria to paint an
Altarpiece for The Chapel of Saint Helena.
Source: Alte Pinakothek.
Author: Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (1553 - 1608).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Relics at Santa Croce were once in the ancient Saint Helena's Chapel, which is partly under Ground Level. Here, the Founder of the Church had some earth from Calvary dispersed, whence the name "in Hierusalem" of the Basilica. In the Vault, is a mosaic designed by Melozzo da Forlì (before 1485), depicting Jesus Blessing, Histories of The Cross and various Saints. The Altar has a huge statue of Saint Helena, which was obtained from an ancient statue of Juno, discovered at Ostia. Mediaeval Pilgrim Guides noted that the Chapel was considered so holy, that access to the Chapel by women was forbidden.

The Apse of the Church includes frescoes telling the Legends of The True Cross, attributed to Melozzo, to Antoniazzo Romano and Marco Palmezzano. The Museum of the Basilica houses a mosaic icon from the 14th-Century. According to the Legend, Pope Gregory I had it made after a vision of Christ. Notable is the tomb of Cardinal Francisco de los Ángeles Quiñones, by Jacopo Sansovino (1536).

Peter Paul Rubens, who had arrived in Rome by way of Mantua in 1601, was commissioned by Archduke Albert of Austria to paint an Altarpiece with three panels for the Chapel of Saint Helena. Two of these paintings, Saint Helena with The True Cross and The Mocking of Christ, are now in Grasse, France. The third, The Elevation of The Cross, is lost. Before his marriage, The Archduke had been made a Cardinal in this Church.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Annunciation Of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Feast Day 25 March.

Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

The Annunciation.
Date: 1712.
Current location: Saint Louis Art Museum,
Missouri, United States of America.
(Wikimedia Commons)

"Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel),
You Are Our Mother . . ."


The Annunciation (Anglicised from The Latin Vulgate, Luke 1:26-39, Annuntiatio nativitatis Christi), also referred to as The Annunciation To The Blessed Virgin Mary, or, The Annunciation Of The Lord, is the Christian Celebration of the Announcement, by The Angel Gabriel to The Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become The Mother of Jesus, The Son of God, marking His Incarnation.

Gabriel told Mary to name her Son, Jesus, meaning "Saviour". Many Christians observe this event with The Feast Of The Annunciation on 25 March, nine full months before Christmas, the Ceremonial Birthday of Jesus. According to Luke 1:26,, The Annunciation occurred "in the sixth month" of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. Irenaeus (circa 130 A.D. - 202 A.D.), of Lyon, regarded The Conception of Jesus as 25 March, coinciding with The Passion.

Our Lady of Ushaw,
Durham, England.
Photo: April 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Zephyrinus.

Approximating The Northern Vernal Equinox, the date of The Annunciation also marked The New Year in many places, including England, where it is called Lady Day. Both The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church hold that The Annunciation took place at Nazareth, but differ as to the precise location. The Basilica of The Annunciation marks the site preferred by the former, while The Greek Orthodox Church of The Annunciation marks that preferred by the latter.

The Annunciation has been a key topic in Christian Art, in general, as well as in Marian Art in The Catholic Church, particularly during The Middle Ages and The Renaissance.



The following Text is taken from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.

The Annunciation Of The Blessed Virgin Mary.
Feast Day 25 March.

Double of The First-Class.

White Vestments.

This Feast, prepared by the Feast of Saint Gabriel, yesterday, recalls the greatest event in history, The Incarnation of Our Lord (Gospel) in the womb of a Virgin (Epistle). On this day, The Word Was Made Flesh, and united to Itself for ever The Humanity of Jesus.

25 March is, indeed, The Anniversary of The Ordination of Christ as Priest, for it is by the Anointing of The Divinity that He has become Supreme Pontiff, Mediator between God and man.

English: Innocence.
Français: L'Innocence.
Русский: "Невинность", картина Виллиама Бугро.
И маленький ребёнок, и ягнёнок — символы невинности.
Artist: William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905).
Date: 1893.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Mystery of The Incarnation has earned, for Mary, her Most Glorious Title, that of "Mother of God" (Collect), in Greek "Theotokos", a name which The Eastern Church always inscribed in Letters of Gold, like a Diadem, on the forehead of her images and statues.

"Standing on the threshold of Divinity" [Saint Thomas], since she gave to The Word of God the Flesh to which He was hypostatically united, The Virgin has always been honoured by a super-eminent Veneration, that of Hyperdulia.

"The Virgin With Angels".
Artist: William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905).
Date: 1900.
Current location: Petit Palais, Paris.
Source/Photographer: Art Renewal Center.
Copied from The English Wikipedia to Commons.
(Wikimedia Commons)

"The Son of The Father and The Son of The Virgin naturally became a single and identical Son", says Saint Anselm; hence, Mary is Queen of The Human Race and is to be Venerated by all (Introit).

To 25 March, will correspond, nine months later, 25 December, the day on which will be manifested to the world the Miracle as yet only known to Heaven and to The Humble Virgin.

Since the Title of Mother of God makes Mary All Powerful with her Son, let us have recourse to her intercession with Him (Collect), so that, by the Merits of His Passion and Crucifixion, we may have a part in The Glory of His Resurrection (Postcommunion).

Every Parish Priest Celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.

Mass: Vultum tuum.

Saturday Of The Third Week In Lent. Lenten Station At The Basilica Of Saint Susanna-At-The-Baths-Of-Diocletian (Santa Susanna-Alle-Terme-Di-Diocleziano).

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Saturday of The Third Week in Lent.
   Station at Saint Susanna's.

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.

Violet Vestments.

Basilica of Saint Susanna
(Santa Susanna-alle-Terme),
Rome, Italy.
Photo: May 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: LPLT
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Station is at the Basilica of Saint Susanna, a Roman Virgin who was Martyred under Emperor Diocletian. This Sanctuary was one of the twenty-five Parish Churches of Rome in the 5th-Century A.D. The analogy between the circumstances of the Martyrdom of Saint Susanna (Feast Day is on the 11 August), and the account of the test of the chaste Susanna of The Old Testament, has decided the choice of the Epistle of The Mass for today.

As is often seen in The Lenten Liturgy, both Epistle and Gospel illustrate the same thought.

Today, both the Epistle and Gospel recall an accusation of adultery which falls back upon its authors. The Epistle speaks to us of the chaste Susanna, who is innocent, and the Gospel of a woman who is guilty. God avenges the rights of justice, with regard to the first, by rewarding her virtue, whilst He opens the treasures of His Mercy, towards the second, by Pardoning her because of her Repentance.

Moreover, the choice of the Gospel is explained by the fact that The Stational Procession must pass through one of the most infamous Quarters of Rome, i.e., the Vicus Suburranus.

Mass: Verba mea.

English: Basilica of Saint Susanna,
Rome, Italy.
Français: Église Sainte-Suzanne,
Rome, Latium, Italie.
Photo: September 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Tango7174
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

The Church of Saint Susanna at The Baths of Diocletian (Italian: Chiesa di Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano) is a Roman Catholic Parish Church located on The Quirinal Hill in Rome, Italy. There has been a Titular Church associated with this site as far back as 280 A.D. The current Church was rebuilt, from 1585 to 1603, for a Monastery of Cistercian Nuns, Founded on the site in 1587, which still exists.

The Church has served as the National Parish, for residents of Rome from The United States, since that was established at the Church, in 1921, by The Paulist Fathers, a Society of Priests Founded in The United States. They have continued to serve at Santa Susanna since then.

About 280 A.D., an Early-Christian House of Worship was established on this site, which, like many of the earliest Christian meeting places, was in a house (Domus Ecclesiae). According to the 6th-Century A.D. Acta of Susanna, the Domus belonged to two brothers, named Caius and Gabinus, prominent Christians.

Caius has been identified both with Pope Saint Caius and with Caius the Presbyter, who was a Prefect and who is a source of information on Early Christianity. Gabinus, or Gabinius, is the name given to the father of the semi-legendary, Saint Susanna. Her earliest documented attestations identify her as The Patron of the Church, not as a Martyr, and, previously, the Church was identified in the earliest 4th-Century A.D. documents, by its title "of Gaius", "by The Baths of Diocletian", or as "Ad Duas Domos" ("Near The Two Houses"). It is also mentioned in connection with a Roman Synod of 499 A.D.

The Coffered Ceiling, designed by Carlo Maderno (1556 - 1629),
who created the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica.
This Church is off the beaten track, but beautiful inside.
Photo: April 2007.
Author: Addictive Picasso from England
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Church of Santa Susanna is one of the oldest "Titulii" in the City of Rome. The Early-Christian Church, built on the remains of three Roman villas, still visible beneath the Monastery, was situated immediately outside The Wall of The Baths, built by Diocletian, and The Servian Wall, the first walls built to defend the City.

According to Tradition, the Church was erected on Susanna's House, where the same Saint was Martyred. In the 4th-Century A.D., it was marked with the designation "ad duas domos" (at the two houses). This first Three-Aisled-Basilica was almost certainly built under the Pontificate of
Pope Leo III (795 A.D. - 816 A.D.).

Pope Sixtus IV (1475-1477) proceeded to rebuild the Church, probably a single Nave with two Side Chapels. In 1588, it became the last great rebuilding effort of Cardinal Girolamo Rusticucci, Cardinal Protector of The Cistercian Order, with construction running from 1595 to 1603. One of the objectives pursued with greater commitment from Rusticucci, as The Vicar General of Pope Sixtus V, was to renew The Life of The Religious Orders.

A reflection of that action can be seen in a figurative programme decorating the walls of the Church. The main themes are: Defence of Chastity, against corruption of morals, and the victory of The True Faith over any temptation to idolatry and heresy. They were joined by the exaltation of the Virginal choice of Saint Susanna and her Prayerful attitude. Rusticucci wanted to highlight and connect these themes to the inseparable bond that his Church had with The Cistercian Nuns, whose Monastery occupied the site.

Pope Sixtus IV commenced rebuilding
of the Church of Saint Susanna.
Title: Pope Sixtus IV (1414-1484).
Date: Circa 1473 - 1475.
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Rusticucci, a lover of "Tradition", chose from the best of that time, which came from the fruitful artistic outpouring from The Counter-Reformation. Consequently, he gave the assignment to Carlo Maderno (1556-1629) for architectural renovations made to the Church. It was he who was the designer of its Travertine facade.

The frescoes of The Central Hall (six scenes from The Life of The Chaste Susanna) are by Baldassare Croce of Bologna (1563-1638). To Cesare Nebbia, a native of Orvieto (1536-1614), can be attributed the frescoes in the Dome and Apse, in which are reproduced some scenes from The Life of The Saint.

The Altarpiece of The High Altar, depicting The Beheading of Saint Susanna, is by Tommaso Laureti of Palermo (1530-1602). Camilla Peretti, sister of Pope Sixtus V, was a great benefactor of The Cistercian Nuns, and helped build their Residential Quarters, including The Chapel of Saint Laurence, whose frescoes are the work of Giovan Battista Pozzo (1563-1591).

The Painting of the Altar, depicting the Martyrdom of The Holy Deacon (Saint Laurence), is also by Nebbia. Large statues of the major Prophets, and two of Saints Peter and Paul, are attributed to Giovanni Antonio Paracea, called Valsoldo.

In The Sacristy of the Church, you can see, through the glass floor, part of the Early-Christian Church and the remains of the Roman house, which is said to be the home of the father of The Saint. A Roman sarcophagus with fragments of painted plaster was discovered in modern times. The excavations also unearthed a Tympanum, depicting: The Lamb of God on a Blue background and flanked by Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist; a Madonna and Child between Saints Agatha and Susanna; plus five beautiful busts of other Saints.

Isaac Hecker,
Founder of The Paulist Fathers.
Photo: 1890 (approximately).
Source: Paulist Fathers Archives.
Author: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Behind The Chancel, separated by an Iron Grating, is located the splendid Monastic Choir, a large rectangular room. It was built in 1596 by Cardinal Rusticucci, as attested by The Coat-of-Arms in the centre of The Choir's rich, carved, wooden-coffered floor. The Choir Stalls were donated by Pope Sixtus V and are repeatedly mentioned in the Old Guides as one of the finest Choirs extant in Roman Monasteries.

The walls are adorned with frescoes depicting Saints and scenes from The Old Testament. The artist who created these paintings was Francesco Di (1676-1702). Also in The Choir, in the four branches of the two Niches that preserve the Reliquaries, appear Saint Benedict of Nurcia and Saint Scholastica (on the Left) and Saint Bernard and Saint Susanna (on the Right). all by the Umbrian painter Avanzino Nucci (1599). Filippo Fregiotti painted the frescoes in a Chapel inside the Enclosure in 1719.

According to Tradition, the structure became a Church around 330 A.D., under the Emperor Constantine I, when the Basilicas of numerous House Churches came to be adapted for Liturgical use. The Basilica was T-shaped with a central Nave with twelve Columns on each side, flanked by Side Aisles. All that is left of these two Side Aisles, after the Late-16th-Century rebuilding, are the two Side Chapels of The Basilica Church.

In The Synod of 565 A.D., the Church is first referred to by the Title of Susanna; the Church has been dedicated to her Veneration ever since. In the Acta, Susanna is Martyred with her family, when the girl refuses to marry the son of Emperor Diocletian; the occasion of Susanna's Martyrdom is a literary Trope that is familiar in other "Passions" of Virgins in The Roman Martyrology.

English: Pope Benedict XV,
who met The Superior General of
The Paulist Fathers in 1921.
Français: Photo de Benoît XV prise vers 1915.
Date: Circa 1915.
Source: Library of Congress.
Author: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

After World War I, The Paulist Fathers, Founded in New York City in 1858, had grown to such an extent that they felt the time had come to seek approval of their Religious Institutefrom The Holy See, in order to be able to work throughout the Worldwide Church. They also wanted to establish a Procurator-General, in Rome, to co-ordinate their work with The Vatican.

To this end, The Superior General of The Society, The Right Reverend Thomas Burke, C.S.P., went to Rome in January 1921 to meet with Pope Benedict XV. During this trip, they noticed the Church of Santa Susanna, as it was adjacent to The American Embassy to Italy at the time. Its location made it of interest to the Americans.

The Paulists opened The Office of The Procurator-General, in the City, the following Spring, headed by Thomas Lantry O'Neill, C.S.P. In the meantime, Burke's brother, also a member of The Society, had approached President Warren Harding, to make him aware of their interest in making use of The Church to serve the growing American population of Rome. Harding made a request for this to The Apostolic Nuncio to The United States, Archbishop Giovanni Bonzano, during the course of a meeting they held that June. Bonzano transmitted the request to The Vatican Secretary of State, with the recommendation that it be granted as a gesture of goodwill to The United States.

Accordingly, in December 1921, Pope Benedict XV authorised The Paulist Fathers to administer Santa Susanna as The National Church in Rome for The American Residents of Rome and visitors from The United States of America. The Abbess of the Monastery gave the Keys to the Church to the new Pastor on 1 January 1922. Cardinal William Henry O'Connell of Boston presided at the first Public Mass for The American Community of the City on 26 February 1922.

His Eminence Cardinal [William Henry] O'Connell,
Archbishop of Boston.
Presided at the first Public Mass
at Saint Susanna's in February 1922.
Photo: Date unknown.
Source: Library of Congress.
Author: Bain News Service.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Some controversy arose from the Establishment of the Parish. The first was the fact that the Cardinal, who held the Title to the Church, had died during the Summer of 1921, leaving the Church with no legal owner according to Italian Law. Another, was the installation of electrical lights in the Church, to which Americans were accustomed, but was shocking to The Roman People. Further, there was a claim on the Church, by The Ambassador of Romania, for use as a National Church for the people of his Country. The ownership issue was not settled until the end of 1924, when Bonzano, the former Apostolic Nuncio, and now a Cardinal, requested a Transfer of his Title to this Church. Once in his hands, he formally appointed O'Neill as The Rector of the Parish.

The High Altar frescoes,
Basilica of Santa Susanna,
Rome, Italy.
Photographer: Dave Dwyer
Illustration: FLICKR

Since 1958, the Post of Cardinal Priest, with the Title "Sanctae Susannae", has been given to the Archbishop of Boston, upon his creation as a Cardinal. The most recent such appointment was that of Bernard Francis Law, who, in 2002, resigned the Archbishopric but kept the Title of "Santa Susanna".

Pope Sergius I restored it at the end of the 7th-Century A.D., but Pope Saint Leo III, the fourth Pope who had been Pastor of this Church, rebuilt it from the ground in 796 A.D., adding the great Apse and conserving the Relics of The Saints in the Crypt. A vast mosaic of Christ, flanked by Pope Saint Leo III and the Emperor Charlemagne and Saints Susanna and Felicity, was so badly damaged in the 12th-Century, by an earthquake, that the Interior was plastered over in the complete renovation that spanned the years 1585–1602 and frescoed by Cesare Nebbia.

Pope Saint Leo III (750 A.D. - 816 A.D.)
was the fourth Pope who had been
Pastor of Saint Susanna's.
He rebuilt the Church in 796 A.D.
These Mosaics of Pope Leo III
are in the Hall (Triclinium) of the
Lateran Palace (798 A.D. - 799 A.D.)
(Wikimedia Commons)

A façade, in Travertine, remained to be constructed. The present Church of Santa Susanna, on its ancient foundations, was the first independent commission in Rome for Carlo Maderno, who had trained as an assistant to his uncle, Domenico Fontana, the Chief Architect of Pope Sixtus V. In 1603, Maderno completed the façade, a highly influential Early-Baroque design. The Entrance and roof are surrounded by Triangular Pediments. The windows are replaced by Niches. The statues of the higher level (Pope Saint Caius and Saint Genesius of Rome) are by Giovanni Antonio Paracea, those of the lower level (Saint Susanna and Saint Felicitas of Rome) are by Stefano Maderno.

The Church of Santa Susanna was accounted so successful that, in 1605, Pope Paul V named Maderno architect of Saint Peter's Basilica, where he completed the Nave and constructed the great façade.

The Church consists of a single Nave, with a circular Apse forming two Side Chapels. The frescoes of the Central Nave, by Baldassare Croce, represent six scenes from The Life of Susanna, found in The Book of Daniel. The frescoes, on the curved side of the Apse, show Saint Susanna being threatened by Maximian, but defended by The Angel of God and, to the Right, Susanna refusing to worship the idol, Jupiter. Nebbia's frescoes, of the Dome of the Apse, depict Saint Susanna flanked on either side by Angels with musical instruments. Behind The High Altar, the Painting, depicting The Beheading of Saint Susanna, is by Tommaso Laureti.

The Carmelite Convent was established in Lviv by Jakub Sobieski. Many particulars of its design (decorative vases, Andreas Schwaner's statues) were patterned after the Roman Church of Santa Susanna. Its construction, commenced in 1642, was greatly delayed by the events of The Deluge. The Carmelites departed from The Nunnery in 1792. It was later used as a Metrology Office. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church recently re-Consecrated the Church to Christian Worship and Dedicated it to The Presentation of Our Lord.
Photo: June 2007.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Chapel of Our Lady of Graces (a former Painting on the Altar) has, on its walls, two recent frescoes of Saint Benedict and Saint Bernard.

Domenico Fontana constructed the second Side Chapel to the Left, Dedicated to Saint Laurence, commissioned by Camilla Peretti, sister of Pope Sixtus V. The Paintings are by the Milanese artist, Giovanni Battista Pozzo (1563–1591). The Altar Painting, by Cesare Nebbia, depicts the Martyrdom of Saint Laurence. In this Chapel are Venerated Saint Genesius of Rome, Patron of actors, in the act of receiving Baptism, and the Bishop, Pope Saint Eleuterus.

The Presbytery is decorated with two frescoes. To the Left, Baldassare Croce depicts the Martyrdom of Saint Gabinius, while, to the Right, Paris Nogari shows the Martyrdom of Saint Felicitas of Rome and her seven sons.

Rev. Fr. Greg Apparcel, CSP.
Rector of the Church of Santa Susanna.
Illustration: SANTA SUSANNA

The valuable Ceiling of the Nave and of the Presbytery is made in polychromed gilt wood, carved to the design of Carlo Maderno.

Entombed in the Church are five Early-Church Martyrs and Saints: Susanna; her father, Gabinus; Saint Felicitas of Rome; Pope Saint Eleuterus; and Genesius of Rome.

The Commemoration of Saint Susanna has been linked in The Roman Calendar with Saint Tiburtius, 11 August (See Saints Tiburtius and Susanna).

Among the previous Cardinal Priests of Santa Susanna is Pope Nicholas V (1446).
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