Apr 9, 2013

Basilica S. Pudenziana

Basilica Santa Pudenziana is a 4th century church in Rome dedicated to Saint Pudentiana, sister of Saint Praxedes and daughter of Saint Pudens. It's located in the Rione Monti, a discrict between Esquiline Hill and Celian Hill, and is the national church of Philippines in Rome

The church is recognized as the oldest place of Christian workship in Rome. It was built over a 2nd century house, probably during the pontificate of Pope Pius I (140-155) and re.uses part of a bath facilty still visible in the structure of the apse. This church was the residenxe of the pope until, in 313, emperor Constantine offered them the Lateran Palace. In the 4th century, during the pontificate of Pope Siricius, the building was transformed into a three.naved church. In the acts of the synod of 499, the church bears the titulus of Pudentis, indicating that the administration of the sacraments was allowed

The church is situated at a lower level. One enters through wrought iron gates

Steps, added in the 19th century, spring down to the square courtyard from both sides of the entrance

The architrave of the entrance hall of the faded facade (1870) contains a marble frieze that used to belong to a portal from the 11th century. It is a significant work of medieval sculpture in Rome and shows, from left to right, Pastore (the first church owner), Pudentiana, Praxedes and their father Pudens. The columns in the nave were part of the original basilica structure

The Romanesque belltower was added in the early 13th century. Restorations of 1588 by Francesco Volterra, on orders from cardinal Enrico Caetani. carmelengo of the Holy Roman Church, transformed the three naves into one and a dome was added, also designed by Francesco Volterra. The painting of Angels and Saint before the Saviour on the dome is a fresco by Pomerancio (1570-1630). During these last restorations some fragmens of a Laocoon group were found that were larger than those in the Vatican. As no one was willing to pay extra for this find, they filled up the hole in the ground. These fragments were never recovered. The facade was renewed in 1870 and frescoes were added by Pietro Gagliardi. The right side of the present basilica was part of a Roman bath house dating from the reign of emperor Hadrian (117-138)

On the wall behind the high altar are three paintings made in 1803 by Bernardino Nocchi representing, from left to right, St Timotheus, The Glory of St. Pudentiana and St. Novatus

The mosaics in the apse are late Roman art. They date from the end of the 4th century during the pontificate of Pope Innocent I. They were restored in the last 16th century. They are among the oldest Christian mosaics in Rome and one of the most striking mosaics outside Ravenna. They were deemed the most beautiful mosaics in Rome by the 19th century historian Ferdinand Gregorovius

The mosaic is remarkable for its iconography. Christ is represented as a human figure rather than a symbol, such a lamb or the good shepherd, as He was in very early Christian images

The regal nature of this representation prefigures the majestic bearing of Christ as depicted in Byzantine mosaics. Christ sits on a jewel encrusted throne, wearing a golden toga with a purple trim and poses as a classical Roman teacher with His right Hand extended.

Three paintings made in 1803 by Bernardino Nocchi representing, from left to right, St Timotheus, The Glory of St. Pudentiana and St. Novatus

The Peter chapel, on the left side of the apse, contains a part of the table at which Saint Peter would have held the celebration fo the Eucharist in the house of Saint Pudens. The rest of the table is embedded in the papal altar of St. John Lateran. The sculpture on the altar depicts "Christ delivering the keys of Heaven to St. Peter2 (1594) by the architect and sculptor Giacomo della Porta

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