The church of Sant’Eusebio is named for the priest Eusebius, condemned to die of starvation in AD 357. The priest held Mass daily here in his home. After his martyrdom, Pope Liberius consecrated this house church as Titulus Eusebii, one of the first parish churches in Rome. The church was rebuilt in 1238, with interior modifications in the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. The façade is from 1711 by Stefano Fontana, the same architect who restored San Clemente which we visited a few weeks ago.
On January 17 of each year, pets are brought to Sant’Eusebio for a special blessing. The blessing used to occur down the street at the church of Saint Anthony the Great. As Saint Anthony of Egypt is a patron saint of animals, the blessing would take place on his feast day, January 17. Saint Anthony’s is now attached to Rome’s Russicum, the Russian College, and celebrates the Byzantine Rite. The blessing was moved to the piazza outside of Sant’Eusebio.
The relics of Saint Eusebius are beneath the main altar.