12 April 2008

Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, Italy

Coordinates: 41° 53' 22" N, 12° 28' 11" E. Find With Google Earth.

Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, Italy

The basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches in Rome, perhaps the first in which mass was openly celebrated. This is the queen of the trasteverine churches. The inscription on the episcopal chair says that it is the first church dedicated to the Mother of God, although actually that privilege belongs to Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It is certainly one of the oldest churches in the City. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope St. Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, an asylum for retired soldiers. The area was given over to Christian use by the Emperor Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers, saying, "I prefer that it should belong to those who honor God, whatever be their form of worship." In 340 Pope Julius I (337-352) rebuilt the titulus Callixti on a larger scale, and it became the titulus Iulii, one of the original twenty-five parishes in Rome, and indeed may be the first church in which Mass was celebrated openly. It underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries, and in 1140 it was re-erected under Innocent II as a thanksgiving offering for the submission of the anti-pope, Celestine II (1124). It was rebuilt in the 12th century. Learn more...

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