Saint Praxedes and her amazing Basilica

Apsis mosaic S Prassede Rome W2

A great resource which gathers information every day for the Station Churches is the blog Zephyrinus. This blog also has posts on feast days, steam trains and occasionally on the foibles of Chauffeur Perkins.

Every day during Lent, a different Church is the location for the Stational Liturgy. For those who live or are studying in Rome, it is a great opportunity to visit some Churches that are usually closed. The Pontifical North American College celebrates Mass every day at the Station Church. For details, see their page The Roman Station Liturgy.

Today the post of Zephyrinus with pictures and information about the Basilica of Santa Prassede took me back to a visit there several decades ago. The peeling paint on the outside wall is just as I remember it. Here is a screenshot from Google street view as you walk towards it along a short side street off the Via Merulana:


It doesn't look very impressive. This is a quintessentially Roman experience. When you go through the normally locked door in the shabby facade, and look inside, this is the view:

Interior of Basilica di Santa Prassede, Rome

Saint Praxedes and her sister, Saint Pudentiana were second century Roman martyrs who buried the bodies of their fellow Christians, and exhibited that dreadful Christian proclivity for giving alms to the poor. Like her basilica, Saint Praxedes is also quintessentially Roman in that she has been venerated since time immemorial, her legend is well-established, and all good skeptical commentators imply that virtually nothing reliable is known of her. (Except, of course, the immemorial veneration and well-established legend.)

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