Magens Bay --San Thomas

Friday, June 1, 2012

Welcome to the Rome’s Ancient Catacombs!


Last Friday, I took you on a journey to visit the CapuchinCrypt and today, I am taking you all on a journey to visit the catacombs. So, what is a catacomb? Catacomb is an underground burial chamber for Christians and Jews communities in Rome. 

Have you watched the Indiana and the Last Crusade? Well, as much as I enjoyed the movie –Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors and our family is all about adventure, so two words, Love him! Last crusade is a movie about finding the Holy Grail in the land of romance, Venice. Now come to think about it, the whole Venice is surrounded by salt water. How do the catacombs exist there? Right! –They do not. In fact, “There are no catacombs in Venice, as the town rises on wood piles in the middle of the saltwater Venetian Lagoon. There is no room for underground chambers or passages, and only a few buildings have a basement," says Luigi Fozzati, head of the Archaeological Superintendence of Veneto.” –Cited from http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/archaeology/rome-catacombs/

Image from jestersreviews.com
If there are not any in Venice, where can we find one? Hold tight! We are going there, well, through my writings—through this virtual world. There are tons of catacombs in the Rome, Italy. But, we are going to zeroing to both Catacomb of Callisto and Catacomb of Domitilla –for no particular reasons, just because I had been there in person and hope it may bring back some fond memories--and perhaps yours as well.

Catacomb of San Callisto is one of the largest and most famous of the Roman catacombs. It contains about half-million tombs in an area as large as 15 hectares. The name of the catacomb was named after Pope St. Callixtus, who oversaw the expansion and administration of this catacomb, ironically he was not buried here. Later on Pope Damasus took over and he expanded the catacomb by building underground basilicas to provide access to martyrs’ shrines and places of worship for pilgrims. This catacomb was later abandoned when Pope Paschal decided to transfer the saints and martyrs’s relics to churches then it was long forgotten until they were rediscovered by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1849. 

Image from opentravel.com
Things worth taking home about is the Crypt of Popes, with an inscription by Pope Damasus and early Christian graffiti. And not to mention its humongous chambers –No wonder there were rumors that catacombs were also ones of the places that served as hiding places for Christians during prosecutions, which were confirmed to be not true by the historians. –It was nothing but burial tunnels.

Another catacomb that is nearby, within walking distance, is the Catacomb of Domitilla. Unlike the Catacomb of Callisto, this catacomb was in use until the early 9th century and later rediscovered in 1873. 

Image from jserra-incantatotour.blogspot.com : We sat here while awaiting for our tour guide to narrate us thru the catacomb
 In here, we can find a fresco that is the earliest known depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd

Image cited from sacred-destinations.com
Other worth mentioned artworks include a late 4th-century relief of the martyrdom of St. Archilleus, and a 4th-centrury fresco of a deceased woman, Veneranda,  being led into Paradise St. Petronilla. 

Mosaics are rarely found inside a catacomb, however, in here not only one could find one but also the most fascinating one,  the Raising of Lazarus, the Three Hebrews in the Furnace, and Christ Enthroned between Sts. Peter and Paul. It contains the inscription accompanied by the portrait of Christ: "You who are called the Son are found to be also the Father."This may reflect the sect (later declared a heresy) called Modalism, which explains that God is one being who variously expresses himself as Father, Son and Spirit.

Impressed? I hope so! I was and enjoyed it as much as in person and in this virtual world with you. Thanks again for accompanying me on this journey to visit the Rome’s Ancient Catacombs. 

Until next stop,
Journey of Life

25 comments:

  1. Beautiful! The one thing that I was amazed about in India is every time I visited a different palace or tomb was the detail in the mosaics. Especially at the Taj Mahal where you stand in awe of the craftsmanship.

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    1. Someday, I wanna visit India. Perhaps next year or so ... Maybe you should write and tell us all about it. :-) I would love to know more...

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  2. that is unimaginable -- a half million tombs. Amazing. Thanks for the history.

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    1. I know. Isn't it amazing? Thanks for the visit Sandra! Have a nice weekend.

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  3. What an interesting blog post. Was glad I dropped by.

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  4. Hey, just stopped by to let you know my workshop hop is up for a few more days...I'm leaving it up to let more people find it and link up. Eventually, it will be on a week cycle I think...but you don't have to do it by midnight:)

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    1. Thank you, Sandra! That would help. I am going to have my little editor, my girl, to check it over before posting it for wider audiences :-)

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  5. I love going on Journey's with you!

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    1. Thank you Lucy! Really appreciate your company.

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  6. Interesting history of catacombs. I saw them in Paris, but not in Italy. If I return to Italy, I'll have to make a point of seeing them.

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    1. I didn't see the one in Paris. Next time when we go back with the girls, we would definitely check it out.

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  7. I have been enjoying my journeys with you and learning as I go. Harrison still makes me weak in the knees!

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    1. :-) He is! Still quite handsome at his age. Thank you, Winnie! I always like your company.

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  8. This was so interesting and I thank you for taking me on this fascinating journey. I love that I can journey to these wonderful places with you by reading your blog and seeing the pictures you post here. Amazing post!! Loved it!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Kathy! I am so happy to have you with me on this journey. You are so much fun to be with!

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  9. thanks for sharing... after reading your posts i feel like i visited too!

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    1. You are welcome and I glad you did :-)

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  10. Such an interesting post about the catacombs. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop Hugs and wishes for a beautiful week ahead.

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    1. Thanks Katie. Looking forward to get to know you more thru your writings!

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  11. Catacombs are so mysterious even though we know what they were for burials. Love your Roma adventures! Lots of walking though and I am ready for my evening glass of Chianti.

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  12. Catacombs are so mysterious even though we know what they were for burials. Love your Roma adventures! Lots of walking though and I am ready for my evening glass of Chianti.

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    1. Me too :-) Just in time before bed :-)

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  13. This is one place I get to travel, and get a history lesson. lol Thanks, for sharing.

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