Route: THE PATRONS OF ROME. HISTORY OF PETER AND PAUL
Via di Santa Prisca, 11 www.santaprisca.it Church:…
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Via di Santa Prisca, 11
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The Basilica of Santa Prisca was probably built just above the house, dating from the first century AD, of Aquila and Priscilla, frequented by the first Christian community of Rome. The couple, Jewish converts to Christianity, were tentmakers and had met and hosted Paul in Corinth and then in Ephesus, where they had fled because of the persecutions of Emperor Claudius. Returning to Rome after 54 A.D. they are mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Romans and greeted together with the community “who shall meet in their house”. They too were to suffer martyrdom.
The basement of Santa Prisca preserves also a striking mithraeum, a room dedicated to the cult of Mithras, the god of Iranian origin. The structure was based on a private house of the beginning of the second century AD. According to an inscription engraved in the main niche, the place was consecrated on November 20, 202 AD.
The hall of worship, where sacred banquets were held, retains much of its rich symbolic decoration: in the main niche, a stucco sculpture of Mithras killing the bull; along the side walls, frescoes depicting the procession of initiates to the worship, with painted inscriptions indicating for each of them their degree of initiation and protecting planet.
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