Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sancta Agnes, ora pro nobis ...


Church of Santa Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona, Rome. The traditional site of her martyrdom.
[This was taken in June 2002. That trip, I went through airline security so much that several of my rolls got overexposed. Ugh. This one is heavily edited. No problems now that I've switched over to digital :)]


It's the feast of the virgin martyr. Here's a great link with stories about her cult (also via Don Jim's great blog), and the important role that is played by the lambs dedicated to her, whose wool becomes part of the pallia given to Metropolitan Archbishops on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Her tomb, at Santa Agnese Fuori le Mura (St. Agnes outside the walls), is a beautiful, tranquil place, and one of my favorites in the Eternal City.

Here's Georgina Mason on S. Agnese in Agone (Agone refering to the Circus Agonalis, Domitian's circus, whose outline is still preserved in the shape of the piazza, and gave rise to the name Navona):-
According to pious legend, the church of S. Agnese in Agone, as it is still called, was originally built over the brother, or some such infamous meeting place, in which the thirteen-year-old saint began her martyrdom in the year 304 by being stripped of her clothes. It was then that the miraculous growth of her hair concealed her nakedness, a circumstance attested in the inscription which Pope St. Damasus placed upon her tomb near the Via Nomentana only sixty-two years later. In the vaults below the church some fragments of Roman pavement still exist. Although the walls have been plastered over and painted at avrious periods, there is no doubt that they once formed part of the substructures of DOmitian's stadium, a building which, in common with the baths and others of its kind, would have attracted taverns and other less respectable establishments to the vicinity. The church itself is the work of Borromini, Girolamo and Carlo Rainaldi, all three of whom found favour [sic] with different members of the Pamphlij family; however, the dramatic effect of its concave facade and towering belfires it owes to a design by Borromini. The interior is resplendent with gold and marbles, but the works of art contained are not extraordinary.
You know what this means. That old wanderlust striketh again --- I want to go to Rome again! :: sigh ::

2 comments:

coray said...

do your read getreligion.org?

Gashwin said...

Yes, once in a while. Why?