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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Station at St. Martin "ad montes".

Thursday after the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Station at St. Martin "ad montes".
(S. Martino ai Monti.)

This church dates from the time of Constantine
and is considered one of the most beautiful in Rome.
An oratory was opened in this place by Pope St. Sylvester
in the time of Constantine,
among the ruins of Trajan's baths.
It bore the name of Titulus Equitii, 'Church of Equitius'
a priest on whose property it was.

St. Sylvester held two Councils here in 325 and 326
at the first of which Constantine was present
and the heresies of Arius, Photinus and Sabellius were condemned:
in the second, the decrees of the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) were confirmed.

St Gregory the Great mentioned this place in his Sacramentary.
Pope St. Symmachus built a new oratory about A.D. 500,
on the level of the present church,
and converted the original edifice into a crypt.

This new church was was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours and St. Sylvester.

The raising of the dead child by the Prophet Eliseus in the lesson
from the Fourth Book of Kings contains an allusion to St. Martin of Tours
who raised three dead persons to life
and who was greatly celebrated among the early Christians.

Liturgical Note:
As today's station dates only from the time of Pope St. Gregory II (A.D. 715-731) cetain parts of the Mass are borrowed from other feasts. (Introit: Ember Friday in September; Collect, from after yesterday's first lesson; Gradual borrowed from XIII Sunday after Pentecost.) We can see from this that the ancient Church was loath to improvise new Mass texts unless absolutely necessary. It must be so.

Let us Pray.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God,
that the devotion that makes us punish ourselves by this yearly fast,
may also make us rejoice;
to the end that,
suppressing in ourselves all earthly affections,
we may more easily receive Thy heavenly inspirations.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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