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Monday, March 22, 2010

Station at St. Chrysogonus

Monday after Passion Sunday.
Station at St. Chrysogonus.
(S. Crisogono.)

The basilica of St. Chrysogonus in Trastevere
still preserves under the sanctuary
the remains of the dwelling-place of the martyr of that name.
He was a Roman,
beheaded at Aquilea in the persecution of Diocletian,
his body being cast into the sea.
The devotion of the early Church to him
is attested by the insertion of his name
into the Canon of the Mass.

St. Chrysogonus is mentioned
in the Acts of a council held by St. Symmachus in the sixth century,
and by St. Gregory the Great in one of his letters.

The house-church was rebuilt into a basilica
by St. Gregory III in 731.
The baldacchino of the high altar
rests on four columns of a rare kind of albaster,
and the chancel arch is supported by two splendid columns of porphyry.

The mosaic pavement
is from the 13th century and was very costly;

it was paid for by devout persons,
each paying for a certain number of square feet.

Beside this church St. Gregory III built a monastery for eastern monks,
driven from their country by the Iconoclastic Emperor, Leo Isauricus.
Many illustrious men lived in this monastery,
and one of the monks, elected Pope in 768,
took the name of Stephen III;
the monastery was dedicated to Sts. Stephen and Lawrence.

St. Chrysogonus.
How much do we owe to the devout care of the Roman Church,
which has so jealously preserved the memory of those
who have cemented with their blood the stones of the City of God?
When it was not possible to possess the tomb of a martyr,
as in the case of St. Chrysogonus,
his house was venerated, instead,
as being the place where the future athlete had prepared himself
for the combat on behalf of the faith.
Rome has consecrated as churches
many of the ancient homes of her martyrs,
and what could be more inspiring to the faithful
than a martyr's empty house!
Those rooms once beautiful with paintings and mosaics,
of which some traces still remain,
are silent and empty for the very reason
that the martyrs voluntarily abandoned all things
in order to follow Christ on the road to Calvary.

Liturgical Note:

The Ninevites,
who by their fasts and penances
saved their city from the destruction which threaatened it,
are an example to Christians to follow in their footsteps.
We know that some Oriental rites
keep a special fast before Lent which is known as the "Fast of Ninive"
and various liturgies, including the Latin,
have always regarded the fast of the Ninevites
as a type of the Christian season of penance.

Let us pray.

Sanctifica, quaesumus, Domine...
Sanctify our fasts, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
and mercifully grant us the forgiveness of all our sins.
Through our Lord.

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