Santa Maria in Trastevere

Last updated
Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere
Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
Santa Maria in Trastevere front.jpg
Façade of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Religion
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica
Leadership"vacant"
Location
LocationRome, Italy
Geographic coordinates 41°53′22″N12°28′11″E / 41.88944°N 12.46972°E / 41.88944; 12.46972 Coordinates: 41°53′22″N12°28′11″E / 41.88944°N 12.46972°E / 41.88944; 12.46972
Architecture
Architect(s) Carlo Fontana
TypeChurch
Groundbreaking4th century
Completed1143
Specifications
Direction of façade E
Length56 metres (184 ft)
Width30 metres (98 ft)
Width (nave)16 metres (52 ft)

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Italian : Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere); English: Our Lady in Trastevere) is a titular minor basilica in the Trastevere district of Rome, and one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I. The church has large areas of important mosaics from the late 13th century by Pietro Cavallini. [1] [2]

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

A minor basilica is a Catholic church building that has been granted the title of basilica by the Holy See or immemorial custom. Presently, the authorising decree is granted by the Pope through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Trastevere rione XIII of Rome, Italy

Trastevere is the 13th rione of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City, and within Municipio I. Its name comes from the Latin trans Tiberim, meaning literally "beyond the Tiber". Its logo is a golden head of a lion on a red background, the meaning of which is uncertain. To the north, Trastevere borders the XIV rione, Borgo.

Contents

History

Madonna and Child at the top of the campanile Basilique Santa Maria in Trastevere campanile Vierge.jpg
Madonna and Child at the top of the campanile
Santa Maria in Trastevere, with the Domenichino's works Santa Maria in Trastevere Rome Italy.jpg
Santa Maria in Trastevere, with the Domenichino's works

The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the 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 Saint Callixtus I (217222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers, saying, according to the Liber Pontificalis "I prefer that it should belong to those who honor God, whatever be their form of worship." In 340, when Pope Julius I (337352) rebuilt the titulus Callixti on a larger scale, it became the titulus Iulii in commemoration of his patronage and one of the original 25 parishes in Rome.[ citation needed ]

<i>Cathedra</i> seat of a bishop

A cathedra or bishop's throne is the seat of a bishop. It is a symbol of the bishop's teaching authority in the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion churches. Cathedra is the Latin word for a chair with armrests, and it appears in early Christian literature in the phrase "cathedrae apostolorum", indicating authority derived directly from the apostles; its Roman connotations of authority reserved for the Emperor were later adopted by bishops after the 4th century. A church into which a bishop's official cathedra is installed is called a cathedral.

Mary, mother of Jesus Mother of Jesus, according to the Christian New Testament

Mary was a first-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II. [3] Innocent II razed the church along with the recently completed tomb of the Antipope Anacletus II, his former rival. Innocent II arranged for his own burial on the spot formerly occupied by the tomb. [4]

Pope Innocent II 12th-century Catholic pope

Pope Innocent II, born Gregorio Papareschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 February 1130 to his death in 1143. His election was controversial and the first eight years of his reign were marked by a struggle for recognition against the supporters of Antipope Anacletus II. He reached an understanding with Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor who supported him against Anacletus and whom he crowned King of the Romans. Innocent went on to preside over the Second Lateran council.

Anacletus II, born Pietro Pierleoni, was an Antipope who ruled in opposition to Pope Innocent II from 1130 until his death in 1138. After the death of Pope Honorius II, the college of cardinals was divided over his successor. A majority of cardinals elected Pietro, while a minority elected Papareschi. This led to a major schism in the Roman Catholic Church. Anacletus had the support of most Romans, and the Frangipani family, and forced Innocent to flee to France. North of the Alps, Innocent gained the crucial support of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter the Venerable, and Emperor Lothar III, leaving Anacletus with few patrons. Anacletus, with little remaining support, died in the middle of the crisis. In 1139 the second Lateran Council ended the schism, though opinion remained divided.

The richly carved Ionic capitals reused along its nave were taken either from the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla [5] or the nearby Temple of Isis on the Janiculum. When scholarship during the 19th century identified the faces in their carved decoration as Isis, Serapis and Harpocrates, a restoration under Pius IX in 1870 hammered off the offending faces. [6]

Baths of Caracalla public baths in ancient Rome

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy, were the city's second largest Roman public baths, or thermae, likely built between AD 212 and 216/217, during the reigns of emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They were in operation until the 530s and then fell into disuse and ruin.

Isis goddess in ancient Egyptian religion

Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. She was believed to help the dead enter the afterlife as she had helped Osiris, and she was considered the divine mother of the pharaoh, who was likened to Horus. Her maternal aid was invoked in healing spells to benefit ordinary people. Originally, she played a limited role in royal rituals and temple rites, although she was more prominent in funerary practices and magical texts. She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. During the New Kingdom, as she took on traits that originally belonged to Hathor, the preeminent goddess of earlier times, Isis came to be portrayed wearing Hathor's headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow.

Janiculum hill in western Rome

The Janiculum is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although the second-tallest hill in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among the proverbial Seven Hills of Rome, being west of the Tiber and outside the boundaries of the ancient city.

The predecessor of the present church was probably built in the early fourth century and that church was itself the successor to one of the tituli , Early Christian basilicas ascribed to a patron and perhaps literally inscribed with his name. Although nothing remains to establish with certainty where any of the public Christian edifices of Rome before the time of Constantine the Great were situated, the basilica on this site was known as Titulus Callisti, based on a legend in the Liber Pontificalis , which ascribed the earliest church here to a foundation by Pope Callixtus I (died 222), whose remains, translated to the new structure, are preserved under the altar. [ citation needed ]

A titular church or titulus is a church in Rome assigned or assignable to one of the cardinals, or more specifically to a cardinal priest.

Constantine the Great Roman emperor

Constantine the Great, also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, the city now known as Niš, he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer of Illyrian origins. His mother, Helena, was Greek. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."

The inscriptions found in Santa Maria in Trastevere, a valuable resource illustrating the history of the Basilica, were collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella. [7]

Interior

12th and 13th-century mosaics in the apse AbsideSantaMariaTrastevereRoma.jpg
12th and 13th-century mosaics in the apse
Mosaic of the Annunciation by Pietro Cavallini (1291) Pietro Cavallini 013.jpg
Mosaic of the Annunciation by Pietro Cavallini (1291)

The present nave preserves its original (pre-12th century) basilica plan and stands on the earlier foundations. The 22 granite columns with Ionic and Corinthian capitals that separate the nave from the aisles came from the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, as did the lintel of the entrance door.

Inside the church are a number of 12th and late 13th-century mosaics. Below are mosaics on the subject of the Life of the Virgin by Pietro Cavallini (1291). Above is the mosaic representation of the "Coronation of the Virgin" (1130–1143). The "Coronation of the Virgin" sits atop an apse vault, and depicts Pope Innocent II holding a model of the church. [8]

Domenichino's octagonal ceiling painting, Assumption of the Virgin (1617) fits in the coffered ceiling setting that he designed. [ citation needed ]

The fifth chapel to the left is the Avila Chapel designed by Antonio Gherardi. This, and his Chapel of S. Cecilia in San Carlo ai Catinari are two of the most architecturally inventive chapels of the late-17th century in Rome. The lower order of the chapel is fairly dark and employs Borromini-like forms. In the dome, there is an opening or oculus from which four putti emerge to carry a central tempietto, all of which frames a light-filled chamber above, illuminated by windows not visible from below. The church keeps a relic of Saint Apollonia, her head, as well as a portion of the Holy Sponge. Among those buried in the church are the relics of Pope Callixtus I, Pope Innocent II, Antipope Anacletus II, Cardinal Philippe of Alençon and Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio. [ citation needed ]

Piazza di S. Maria in Trastevere as it was at the end of the 17th century (G.B. Falda, engraving) SMTrastevereGBFaldaengr.jpg
Piazza di S. Maria in Trastevere as it was at the end of the 17th century (G.B. Falda, engraving)

Exterior

12th-century mosaic of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus flanked by 10 women holding lamps Exterior Mosiac of Santa Maria Trastevere.jpg
12th-century mosaic of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus flanked by 10 women holding lamps

The Romanesque campanile is from the 12th century.[ citation needed ] Near the top, a niche protects a mosaic of the Madonna and Child. The mosaics on the façade are believed to be from the 12th century. They depict the Madonna enthroned and suckling the Child, flanked by 10 women holding lamps. This image on the façade showing Mary nursing Jesus is an early example of a popular late-medieval and renaissance type of image of the Virgin. The motif itself originated much earlier, with significant seventh-century Coptic examples at Wadi Natrun in Egypt.

The façade of the church was restored in 1702 by Carlo Fontana, who replaced the ancient porch with a sloping tiled roof — seen in Falda's view above — with the present classicizing one. The octagonal fountain in the piazza in front of the church (Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere), which already appears in a map of 1472, was restored by Carlo Fontana.[ who? ] [9]

The titulus

Ancient sources maintain that the titulus S. Mariae was established by Pope Alexander I around 112. Later traditions give the names of the early patrons of the tituli and have retrospectively assigned them the title of cardinal: thus at that time, the cardinal-patron of this basilica, these traditions assert, would have been Saint Calepodius. Pope Callixtus I confirmed the titulus in 221; to honor him it was changed into Ss. Callisti et Iuliani; it was renamed S. Mariae trans Tiberim by Innocent II. [ citation needed ] By the 12th century, cardinal deacons as well as the presbyters had long been dispensed from personal service at the tituli. Among the past cardinal priests holding the honorary titulus of Santa Maria in Trastevere have been James Gibbons, Pope Leo XII, Józef Glemp, and Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart, whose coat of arms, topped by a crown (some hailed him as King Henry IX of England) rather than a galero (red hat), is visible over the screen to the right of the altar. The incumbent titular holder is Carlos Osoro Sierra Archbishop of Madrid since November 19, 2016 upon the death of Loris Francesco Capovilla, the oldest living cardinal at the time of his death on 26 May 2016. [10]

The square in front of the basilica is one of the centres of Trastevere nightlife. Piazza santa maria in trastevere nightlife.jpg
The square in front of the basilica is one of the centres of Trastevere nightlife.

Significant events

In July 2014, the wedding of Prince Amedeo of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, and Elisabetta Rosboch von Wolkenstein was held at the basilica. [11]

See also

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References

  1. Churches in Rome, hoteldesartistes.com; accessed 1 March 2014.
  2. Since the construction was already under way at the time of the submission of the Antipope Celestine II (1142), it cannot be interpreted as a thanksgiving offering
  3. Reardon, Wendy J. 2004. The Deaths of the Popes, p. 92. Macfarland & Company, Inc.; ISBN   0-7864-1527-4
  4. Dale Kinney, "Spolia from the Baths of Caracalla in Sta. Maria in Trastevere", The Art Bulletin68. 3 (September 1986: 379397).
  5. Rodolfo Lanciani noted that they had been "martellati e distrutti" (Lanciani, "L'Iseum et Serapeum del Regione IX", Bolletino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma11 (1883:35, corroborated in nineteenth-century German and English guidebooks before and shortly after the restoration, noted in Kinney 1986: 380, note 6.
  6. V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chese e d' altre edifici di Roma, dal secolo XI fino al secolo XVI Volume II (Roma: Fratelli Bencini, 1873), pp. 335-379.
  7. "Santa Maria in Trastevere – Rome, Italy". Living Mosaics. Mozaico. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  8. webcitation.org; 25 October 2009; accessed 1 March 2014.
  9. David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy Non-Voting Cardinals. Retrieved: 03/10/2016.
  10. "Belgium's Prince Amedeo marries Elisabetta Rosboch von Wolkenstein in Rome". Hello Magazine. 6 July 2014.