San Martino ai Monti

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Today we visit the ancient parish of Titulus Equitii, now known as Saint Martin in the Hills. The original church was built in the early fourth century by Pope Saint Sylvester. In 325 a synod was held here to prepare for the Council of Nicaea. It was here too that the Nicene Creed was first proclaimed in Rome.

In the sixth century, the church was restored and dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. It was heavily restored yet again in 1650.

Pope Saint Sylvester celebrated Mass at this church and his papal throne is preserved here along with his miter.

There are a few landscape paintings inside that contain images of Constantine’s Saint Peter’s Basilica, and an early version of the Lateran Basilica. These are thought to be the first landscapes painted for a church.

This church contains relics of several popes, including Soter, Fabian, Stephan, Anastatius, Innocent, Martin and Sergius. Also here are relics of Saints Artemius, Paulina and Sisinnius, plus many relics from martyrs moved here from the catacombs of Saint Priscilla.

In many of these ancient house churches that we’ve visited over the last few weeks, it’s impossible to tell where the Christian assembly would have taken place. Here, though, a room large enough to hold nearly four hundred people was found. It is thought that this room was used for worship.

You should buy my dad’s Lenten music.

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