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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Celebrating San Clemente (and St Catherine)



A firework waterfall, relic of St Clement, and a procession through the street with people milling around randomly. All very Roman and it does look fun. (H/T Orbis Catholicus for the video)

When people from the parish tell me that they are going to Rome and ask what to visit, I always recommend that they visit the Basilica of San Clemente. It is near the Colosseum which they want to see anyway, and it gives a good introduction to Rome. The basilica is 12th century and has a cosmatesque paving, choir, and basilica altar. As so often in such Churches in Rome, the beautiful Paschal candlestick and Ambo were not, in my time in Rome, actually used for the Liturgy, as was the case at the basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le mura when I visited a couple of years ago. (See: Bl Pio Nono and the new liturgy)

Underneath the 12th century basilica, there are the remains of a fourth century which has several frescoes such as this 8th century Madonna and child. Below that, there are remains of a first century Roman street complete with a Mithraic temple.

The website for the Basilica of San Clemente has lots of pictures, including those 360 degree ones that make you feel you are on a fairground ride. Important to remember today, on her feast day, is the chapel of St Catherine with its 15th century frescoes depicting the famous wheel which was chopped by an angel when she touched it, and the scene of St Catherine converting the philosophers of Alexandria. On google, I found a post by Samantha Simpson at Monkey Fur which has some great photos.

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