Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Assisi (IV)

An interesting chair at the altar in the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter ...

 

The baroque interior of the Church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, in the town square.

 

The church dates from the 17th century (can't one tell?) by the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri. During St. Francis' time it was a prison. It occupies the site of an old Roman temple to Minerva. A cool priest greeted us inside, wearing a large coat over his grey robes, and a large black biretta. Turns out he's a Regular of the Tertiary Franciscans (the regular counterpart to the secular Franciscans). "Oh -- da Stati Uniti, eh? Conosci l'Università Francescano a Stuebenville?" But of course, everyone has heard of Steubenville. Apparently, there were 150 kids from there in Assisi last week. "They sat here and prayed and sang and prayed!" he said, sounding a little bemused. "Son' forti nella fede" I offered. "Davvero!" The dear friar also gave as short explanation, more a homily really, on the church, after a few Italian visitors showed up. How the temple to Minerva was a beautiful manifestation of human religion, natural religion, of man's search for God, but now, in Christ, there is a supernatural revelaton, God's movement towards man. One encounters this especially in Word and Sacrament, this union of God and man. One Italian couple looked decidedly uncomfortable and sneaked out when the friar wasn't looking! Oh well ...

 

The outside of the church ... with the columns of the Minervan temple preserved still ..

 

A beautiful wooden Pietà in the Duomo di S. Ruffino, from the late 15th century. Apparently, it's bled tears in the past ...

Well, tons more pictures, but I must head to bed before midnight! Last day in Rome tomorrow ... Posted by Picasa

4 comments:

St. Izzy said...

The chair is a standard Roman curule chair, a sella curulis. Magistrates of various degrees of importance had such folding chairs brought out into public to sit upon and administer justice. The point of doing this from a folding chair was so that everyone would know that Roman justice was very portable.


Pax,
Izzy
whose word verification for this comment is the delightful "uffzoo", which must be where one goes to see what sorts of things stand "in uffish thought"

Gashwin said...

Hehe -- I love the word verification thang ... and I knew we'd get a great explanation from our resident classicist.

Didn't Roman justice also march around behind a banner with the letters SPQR? (Now so carelessly strewn about such mundane things as city drains and water fountains)?

St. Izzy said...

...and although most of my students should be able to tell you that SPQR stands for Senatus PopulusQue Romanus (the Roman Senate & People), I've heard modern peregrini claim that it now stands for Sono Porci Questi Romani. I'd still rather be there than here, though.

Izzy
who also likes the sentiment Solo pago quando ricevo

Gashwin said...

Hehe -- or as one anticlerical wag once put it -- Solo i Preti Qui Regnano [Only Priests Rule Here].

[Plural of "porco" is "porchi" I think it's a sentiment J might agree with.]

Corragio -- one day in Fr. Foster's Latin summer class, Dio volonte! :-)