Listen to the podcast for Santa Maria in Via Lata
Tradition tells us that today’s station church, Santa Maria in Via Lata, is built over the house where Saint Peter, Saint Luke and Saint John the Evangelist once lived. It is also said that Saint Paul spent two years here while under house arrest. It is believed that this is where he wrote the Letter to the Hebrews (if he was in fact the author). That, then, would make this the place where Paul converted Onesimus, which we read in The Epistle of Saint Paul to Philemon.
The first oratory was built over this spot in the fifth century, with the church added in the ninth century. The church as it stands today was completed in 1491. Above the altar is a thirteenth century icon of the Blessed Virgin, said to have caused many miracles.
Relics from many martyrs are kept in this church, including the fifteen year old, Saint Agapitus who was tortured and beheaded for his faith during the reign of Emperor Aurelian.