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Lenten Station Churches of Rome - - WEEK 1 MONDAY: SAN PIETRO IN VINCOLI
pnac ^ | February 27, 2012

Posted on 02/27/2012 1:48:37 PM PST by NYer

After the long trek up the Oppian Hill, we now stand before the graceful Renaissance portico of St. Peter in Chains. According to the more likely hypothesis on the archeological history of this church, the first place of Christian worship on this site dates from the late fourth or early fifth century, being completed by Pope Sixtus III. In 431, a priest from here named Philip was a papal legate to the Council of Ephesus, at which he identified himself as coming from the titulus Apostolorum. This likely refers to that early church’s dedication. Disaster would strike the first church shortly after this time in the form of either fire or earthquake, leading to its almost total destruction. Luckily, the Byzantine Emperor and his wife had pledged their support to the previous church, and continuing in this spirit their daughter Eudoxia helped to rebuild the church. The front and back walls of the original church had remained mostly intact, so this reconstruction consisted mainly of rebuilding the nave of the church. This was undertaken and the repairs were completed around the year 450, around the same time that the chains from St. Peter’s imprisonment in Jerusalem were given to the church; when these were placed with the chains from St. Peter’s imprisonment in Rome, the two fused together. In the year 519, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian wanted to bring the chains to Constantinople, but was rebuffed. Towards the end of that century, the church was rededicated at the same time that the relics of the Maccabee brothers were brought here. Two centuries later the church was restored by Pope Adrian I; at this time the church was called by the alternate name of the Basilica Eudoxiana, commemorating the woman whose munificence had allowed its rebuilding.

In the mid-fifteenth century, the basilica was restored by the cardinal titular, Nicolo de Cusa. Later that century two cardinals from the della Rovere family held the title: first Francesco and later Giuliano (later Popes Sixtus IV and Julius II, respectively) added to the complex of buildings on the site and ordered improvements on the church itself. This included the addition of the porch in front of the basilica, to which an upper story would be added a century later. Although Julius II would be ultimately be buried in St. Peter’s, his incomplete tomb, including the famous Moses, was completed in the current state by Michelangelo in 1545. The church received additional interior decoration in 1577, when the frescoes of the apse were completed. In the first quarter of the eighteenth century a more complete renovation was undertaken, including a new ceiling. From 1876 to 1877, a sanctuary renovation created a confessio in front of a new high altar surmounted by a ciborium. The chains of St. Peter, previously kept in a shrine in the left transept, were moved into the confessio for the veneration of the faithful.

The basilica was first built in the middle of the 5th century to house the relic of the chains that bound Saint Peter while imprisoned in Jerusalem, given to Pope Leo I by Empress Eudoxia (wife of Emperor Valentinian III).

According to legend, when the pope held them next to the chains from of Peter's first imprisonment in the Mamertine Prison in Rome, the two chains miraculously fused together.

The basilica has undergone several restorations and rebuildings, including a restoration by Pope Adrian I, a rebuilding by Pope Sixtus IV and another by Pope Julius II. There was also a renovation in 1875. Some modernizations were made at that time.

What to See

The chains said to have held Peter in Rome and Jerusalem are kept in a reliquary under the main altar in the basilica.

Michelangelo's magnificent Moses, which dates from 1515, is the most notable piece of artwork in the basilica. It was originally intended as part of a 40-statue funeral monument for Pope Julius II.

Aerial View
Aerial view of San Pietro in Vincoli. Image © Google Earth.

St. Peter's chains enshrined at the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli.

Michelangelo's Moses statue (1515).

TOPICS: Catholic; History; Worship

1 posted on 02/27/2012 1:48:43 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
From Zenit News Agency

ZE12022203 - 2012-02-22

Station Churches of Rome and Their Lenten Significance

Seminarians, Priests of the North American College Continue Ancient Tradition

By Ann Schneible

ROME, FEB. 22, 2012 ( In the early hours of nearly every morning in Lent, seminarians and priests from the North American College can be found celebrating Holy Mass in one of the "station churches," continuing a tradition that goes back to the days of the early Church. Their daily visits begin with Mass at Santa Sabina on Ash Wednesday, and continue throughout Lent (except on Sundays) until Wednesday of Holy Week, with Mass at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. 

Father Riley Williams is a priest from the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, and in his fifth year at the North American College. He spoke with ZENIT about the yearly tradition of the Lenten station churches.

ZENIT: What is the history behind the Lenten tradition of visiting these station churches?

Father Williams: The tradition of visiting different churches during Lent (and other seasons in which there are also station churches, such as Christmas) began with the practice of the pope to make pastoral visits to the different areas of the city, beginning even as far back as the time of the persecutions. The current list of station churches was essentially complete by the late fifth century, with a few changes in the following centuries before being finalized in the mid-1500s. So, this is a very ancient tradition in which we take part.

The collect for Ash Wednesday, which we heard in a new translation this year, helps to provide the context for our practice of the station churches. Just as we prayed to be "armed with weapons of self-restraint" as we begin "this campaign of Christian service," the Latin word statio also has military connotations. It originally meant the post of a soldier on watch. In a Christian context, it refers to our own alertness and preparedness as we undertake the rigors of Lent while "keeping watch" through our worship at these churches.

ZENIT: When did priests and seminarians from the NAC begin this yearly tradition?

Father Williams: While the ancient practice of the station churches died out when the popes moved to Avignon in the fourteenth century, it was revived most recently by Blessed John XXIII. A group from the North American College began organizing Masses at the station churches in about 1975, with the tradition continuing to the present day. 

ZENIT: What do the priests and seminarians from the NAC gain from the experience?

Father Williams: I think the most profound thing that we, as well as the many people from the city who join us for these Masses, gain from this experience is a real connection with the history of our faith and the witness of those who came before us. Not only are we worshipping at churches that either enshrine the remains of the saints or commemorate the place of their martyrdom, but we are also literally walking in the footsteps of nearly 2,000 years of Christians who have come to these very same places to do what we're doing: worshipping God. It gives us a real sense of both the foundations of our Faith, and also its continuity through the ages.

ZENIT: Could you speak about the significance of the churches that are visited during this first week of Lent?

Father Williams: Lent begins at Santa Sabina, a fourth century basilica that contains the oldest depiction of the crucifixion in Christian art. On the following days are San Giorgio in Velabro and Santi Giovanni e Paolo, two churches dedicated to martyrs of the early Church. The latter church is actually built over the house of Sts. John and Paul, who were martyred in the same place. Saturday brings us to Sant'Agostino, where the mother of St. Augustine, St. Monica, is buried. The pope's cathedral, St. John Lateran, is the station for the First Sunday of Lent. Monday’s church is San Pietro in Vincoli, which besides holding the chains which bound St. Peter in prison also contains Michaelangelo's famous Moses. Sant'Anastasia, dedicated to another early martyr from the Balkans, is visited on Tuesday. While not well known now, in the early days it was very significant, since it was near the Imperial Palace in which lived the viceroys of the Byzantine emperor. On Wednesday we are at Santa Maria Maggiore, the oldest Marian basilica in the West. San Lorenzo in Panisperna, located over the site of St. Lawrence's martyrdom, is the station on Thursday, and the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, which has the relics of Sts. Philip and James, is on Friday. Finally, on Saturday of the First Week of Lent we celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. 

And at this point there are still five weeks to go…

2 posted on 02/27/2012 1:50:44 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer
Lenten Station Churches of Rome - - WEEK 1 MONDAY: SAN PIETRO IN VINCOLI
Lenten Station Churches of Rome - - Week 1 SUNDAY: SAN GIOVANNI IN LATERANO
Lenten Station Churches of Rome - Ash Wednesday - St. Sabina

The Roman Station Liturgy - Lenten Station Churches of Rome
Rome's Station Churches Revive Ancient Tradition
Lenten Station Churches: 4th Sunday of Lent - SANTA CROCE IN GERUSALEMME
Lenten Station Churches: 3rd Sunday of Lent - San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
Lenten Station Churches of Rome - Wednesday Week 3 - Basilica of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere
Lenten Station Churches - Week 2 - Monday - San Clemente [Catholic Caucus]
Lenten Station Churches - 2nd Sunday of Lent - Santa Maria in Domnica [Catholic Caucus
Station Churches of Rome - 1st Friday of Lent - Santi Giovanni e Paolo
tational Churches (Virtually visit one each day and pray)
LENTEN STATIONS [Stational Churches for Lent] (Catholic Caucus)

3 posted on 03/03/2012 2:52:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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