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Monday, March 15, 2010

Station at the Four Crowned Martyrs


Monday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent.
Station at the Four Holy Crowned Martyrs.
(SS. Quattro Coronati.)

First Day of Lent in Rome in the third century.


This ancient church which stands fortress-like at the foot of the Coelian hill,
is mentioned in a document of the time of St. Gregory the Great (A.D. 590-604).
It was rebuilt by Honorius I (A.D. 626-638),
enlarged by St. Leo IV (A.D. 847-855),
almost burnt to the ground by the conflagration
caused by the Normans in 1084,
then again rebuilt by Paschal II in 1112
and finally restored under Martin V (1417-1431).
Pope St. Leo IV (A.d. 847-855) and Stephen III (768-772)
were elected to the Papacy in this church.

The Four Crowned Martyrs.
Un the crypt immediately under the high altar
lie the bodies of the Four Crowned Martyrs
who are Saints Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus and Victorinus all brothers,
who held important offices in Rome,
were arrested under Diocletian for denouncing the worship of idols,
and cruelly scourged to death.

The pagan god Aesculapius.

With the Four Crowned Martyrs are associated five other martyrs,
Saints Cladius, Nicostratus, Symphorianus, Castorus and Simplicius, all sculptors,
who suffered at Pannonia in the same persecution,
for refusing to make a statue of Aesculapius.
St. Leo IV translated the remains of the nine martyrs
to this church about A.D. 847;
their bodies are enshrined in two urns of porphyry and serpentine.
The head of St. Sebastian is also kept here.

Roman Tower of the Basilica of the Four Crowned Martyrs.

The Primitive Roman Lent,
which included the three weeks before Easter,
began on this day in the third century;
and the last trace of this liturgical period
is to be seen in the series of lessons from St. John's Gospel,
which continue from now to Easter.
The few Masses which do not have their Gospels from St. John
are either those stations instituted afterwards by Gregory II
or their Gospels were added at a later date.

The Offertory is that of the First Sunday after the Epiphany.
It's flowing Gregorian melody is true jubilation,
well suited to this first day of the great paschal fast,
when a special note of gladness
was to dominate the whole Mass.
God loves a cheerful giver.

+
Oremus.
Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God,
that we who annually celebrate this holy fast,
may be well pleasing to Thee,
both in body and in mind.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


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