Sunday, May 19, 2019

Official Visit to the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome

ROME 16 May 2019 (ORCNS) - HIRH Don Rutherford Cardinal Johnson, Anglo-Italian Imperial Patriarch made his first official visit to the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome to take symbolic possession of it as Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria Antiqua. The visit was delayed due to years of restoration work on the church. The Diaconal Church of Santa Maria Antiqua dates to the 5th century A.D. and is located in the Roman Forum at the foot of the Palatine Hill. It is the oldest Christian monument in the Forum and contains the earliest known Roman depiction of the Blessed Virgin as Queen.

In the early 8th century, it was used by Pope John VII as the seat of the Bishop of Rome. In 847, however, the church was partially destroyed by an earthquake. A new church, Santa Maria Nova, was built on part of the ruins of the temple of Venus and Roma. During the Norman Sack of Rome in 1084, Santa Maria Antiqua suffered further destruction. In 1617, the church of Santa Maria Liberatrice was built on its ruins. It was not until that church was demolished in 1900 that the ruins of Santa Maria Antiqua were again brought to light.

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Cardinal Count Don Rutherford in Santa Maria Antiqua
One of the walls inside Santa Maria Antiqua