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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Station at St. Apollinaris "in Archipresbyteratu."

Thursday in Passion Week.
Station at St. Apollinaris "in Archipresbyteratu".
(S. Apollinare alle Terme Neroniane-Allesandrine.)

The "glory" above the High Altar of
St Apollinaris
"in Archipresbyteratu".

The basilica "in Archipresbyteratu" is dedicated to St Apollinaris, the patron saint of Ravenna, a city of such importance in the Middle Ages, consequent on the presence there of the Byzantine Exarchs, that its archbishops, copying the ecumenical patriarchs of Constantinople, began to arrogate to themselves papal honours.

It was therefore necessary to treat these prelates with great consideration, and it was during their ascendancy - at a time when even St Gregory the Great assigned a place of distinction to the apocrisarius of the metropolitans of Ravenna at the papal functions in Rome - that many churches and chapels were built in honour of St Apollinaris. There was one at the Vatican, another at the Lateran, a third - at which today's station is held - at the Baths, and another on the Via Appia.

St Apollinaris.

Rome, whilst showing this special veneration for St Apollinaris, was careful to point out (and for this she had excellent reasons) that the saint had been a disciple of St Peter, from whom he had received a mission to evangelize the Romagna; but there were certain patriarchs of Ravenna who tried to emancipate themselves entirely from papal jurisdiction, so much so that the Roman Missal does not fail to incalculate in its lessons on the Feast of St Apollinaris the necessity of humility and of avoiding that spirit of domineering arrogance which characterizes secular authority.

The magnificent Basilica of St Apollinaris in Ravenna,
known throughout the world for its splendid mosaics.
The small white altar in the centre of the nave
crowns the actual tomb of the saint.

Under the High Altar of the Basilica of St Apollinaris in Rome repose the relics of the Armenian martyrs Eustacius, Mardarius, Eugenius, Orestes and Eusentius, who were greatly renowned among the Greeks.

The Armenian Martyrs.

A great treasury of relics may be seen in the adjoining college on special days . Of interest is the fact that among those relics, before her translation to Mugnano by Canon Francis de Lucia in 1805, were once those of St Philomena after they had been discovered in the Catacomb of St Priscilla.

The Holy Relics of St Philomena.

Liturgical Note:

Today's Gospel (St Luke VII, 36-50) narrates the conversion of St Mary Magdalene, whom widespread tradition, as early as the time of Tertullian, identifies with the sister of Martha and Lazarus. God does not heed the past sins of the penitent, and in the Magdalene He wishes to give us an example of the way in which He will receive a sinner who returns to Him with true contrition. The fire of the Holy Ghost, says St Chrysostom, envelopes the poor penitent, sanctifies her and raises her up, even above the virgins.

St Mary Magdalene.
We are not all able to fast as did she,
nor can we all be apostles, as she was of the Apostles,
but every one of us has a heart
to consecrate to the love of God alone.

The post-Communion is ancient, and was chosen in the Middle Ages as a prayer of private devotion, which the priest used to recite immediately after having participated in the sacred mysteries. In this way it came to form part of the Ordinarium Missae of the Roman Missal...

Let us pray.

Quod ore sumpsimus...
Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth, we may receive with a clean mind, and that from a temporal gift it may become for us an everlasting remedy.


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