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Santa Prassede as it came to be know in Italian was the location for Holy Monday, when the texts focused upon the women who anointed the feet of Jesus for his burial, drawing a connection to her act of service for the 22 martyrs. When it was selected as a station, its need for restoration became clear and Pope Hadrian I redeemed it from its ruinous condition in It was not until the building program of Pope Paschal I , however, in which S. Prassede was relocated a short distance away on the Esquiline, that the church became what it is today, "one of the most intact, most virginal of all the early Christian and medieval churches of the eternal city," with one of the most important 9th-century mosaics in Rome.

Praxede’s Story | Books and Culture

Paschal's intent was to make the church a liturgical hotspot for the Lateran section of the city and, conveniently, the papal cathedral and palace. After an extensive relic service, Paschal officially dedicated S. Prassede on July 21, ; it has continued to welcome officials and pilgrims to the present time.

Paschal's redesign of S. Prassede cast it as a three-aisled medieval copy of Constantine's five-aisled Old St. The interior of fine marble revetment would have been well-lit, climaxing to an open timber roof. Halfway up the meter-long nave, the Zeno Chapel opens to the east.

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In July of , Paschal presided over a service of dedication for the 2, relics he had brought to S. Prassede's Zeno Chapel from all points of the compass where pilgrims would travel. He employed the dual altar style invented by Gregory, in which a lower altar housed all the relics while a raised altar served as the location for public services.

The officiant could preside over a service without being interrupted by the throngs of pilgrims coming to behold the relics. The first chapter of Mary M. Schaefer's Women in Pastoral Ministry: The Story of Santa Prassede, Rome pieces together the data to construct the story of the sisters, and the second thoroughly describes and illustrates the structure of the church and its iconography.

Schaefer pays special attention to the visual depiction of women.

The titulus Praxedis was originally grouped with the basilica of St. Mary Major along with the basilica of her sister S. The Christ figure in the apse of S. Pudenziana, dated to the early decades of the 5th century, says, "The Lord Protector of Pudens' faith-assembly.

Basilica di Santa Prassede - Roma

In the chapel of S. Prassede, a mosaic depicts Christ and the 12 apostles along with Mary Theotokos and eight crowned women surrounding a marble urn. On the north wall, three apostles of the East face three female saints of Rome, the two sisters along with the martyr Agnes. As the Zeno Chapel is meant to represent the garden of paradise, Schaefer is impressed to find so many of both genders depicted here.

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Balance continues on the lower register of the north lunette where a lamb is flanked by two stags on one side and two does on the other. Below them are four women, the mother of Pope Paschal, Theodora, who is called an episcopa; Praxede; Mary, the mother of Jesus; and Pudentiana.


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The mothers alternate with virgins. The Titulus S.

Praxedis was established by Pope Evaristus, around The inscriptions found in Santa Prassede, a valuable source illustrating the history of the church, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella. The most famous element of the church is the mosaic decorative program. Paschal hired a team of professional mosaicists to complete the work in the apse, the apsidal arch, and the triumphal arch.

Women in Pastoral Office: The Story of Santa Prassede, Rome

In the apse, Jesus is in the center, flanked by Sts. Peter and Paul who present Prassede and Pudenziana to God. On the far left is Paschal, with the square halo of the living, presenting a model of the church as an offering to Jesus. Below runs an inscription of Paschal's, hoping that this offering will be sufficient to secure his place in heaven.

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On the apsidal arch are twelve men on each side, holding wreaths of victory, welcoming the souls into heaven. Above them are symbols of the four Gospel writers: Mark, the lion; Matthew, the man; Luke, the bull; and John, the eagle, as they surround a lamb on a throne, a symbol of Christ's eventual return to Earth. Those mosaics, as well as those in the Chapel of Saint Zeno, a funerary chapel which Pope Paschal built for his mother, Theodora, are the best-known aspects of the church.

Also noteworthy are ancient frescoes. Ascending a spiral staircase, one enters a small room, covered in scaffolding; on the wall is a fresco cycle, dating most likely from the 8th century. The frescoes probably depict the life-cycle of the name saint of the church, Praxedes. Santa Prassede also houses an alleged segment of the pillar upon which Jesus was flogged and tortured before his crucifixion in Jerusalem. The relic is alleged to have been retrieved in the early 4th century by Saint Helena mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I who at the age of eighty undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where she founded churches for Christian worship and rescued relics associated with the crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary.

Among these legendary relics retrieved by Helena, which included pieces of the True Cross now venerated at St. Maria Maggiore. The authenticity of these relics, including the Santa Prassede pillar, is disputed by historians, due to lack of forensic evidence and the proliferation of falsified relics during the Middle Ages. Place and see. History The church in its current form was commissioned by Pope Hadrian I around the year , and built on top of the remains of a 5th-century structure and was designed to house the bones of Saint Praxedes Italian: S.

Mosaic The most famous element of the church is the mosaic decorative program.

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Pillar of the Flogging Santa Prassede also houses an alleged segment of the pillar upon which Jesus was flogged and tortured before his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Bibliography B. Marchita B. Mary M. Marconi, Fourth Edition, January