Tuesday, November 22, 2005

St. Cecilia

Rogueclassicism tells us that today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music. Here is a shot of the facade of S. Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, thought (I think) to be on the site of her house and martyrdom:

When her tomb was opened in the late 1599, supposedly her body was found in tact and undecayed, and the sculptor Stefano Maderno, present at the opening, was able to depict it:

There are some excavations underneath the church of Roman remains which I haven't visited yet, but would like to. If and when I do, I'll try to get some pics up from them.

UPDATE: I had a feeling that some of the information I read on the catholic-forum.com site conflicted with something I had read before. Here is what the Blue Guide for Rome says (whence some of the above information also comes):

[The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is] on the site of the house of St. Cecilia and her husband St. Valerian, whome she converted to Christianity. This building was adapted to Christian use probably in the 5C, and the body of St. Cecilia was transferred here and a basilica erected by Paschal I (817-24). The church, radically altered from the 16C onwards, was partly restored to its original form in 1899-1901. The slightly leaning campanile dates from 1120.

St. Cecilia, a patrician lady of the gens Cornelia, was martyred in 230, during the reign of Alexander Severus. She was shut up in the calidarium of her own baths, to be scalded to death. Emerging unscathed, she was beheaded in her own house, but the executioner did such a bad job that she lived for three days afterwards. She was buried in the Catacombs of St. Calixtus, where her body remained until its reinterment in her church in 820. As the inventor of the organ, she is the patron saint of music. On 22 November churches hold musical services in her honour.

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