Santa Prisca

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For the fictional country, see Santa Prisca (DC Comics).
For the church in Taxco de Alarcón, Mexico, see Santa Prisca Church (Taxco).
Façade of Santa Prisca.

Santa Prisca is a titular church of Rome, on the Aventine Hill, for Cardinal-priests. It is recorded as the Titulus Priscae in the acts of the 499 synod.

Church[edit]

It is devoted to Saint Prisca, a 1st-century martyr, whose relics are contained in the altar in the crypt. It was built in the 4th or 5th century over a temple of Mithras.

Damaged in the Norman Sack of Rome, the church was restored several times. The current aspect is due to the 1660 restoration, which included a new facade by Carlo Lombardi.

In the interior, the columns are the only visible remains of the ancient church. Also a baptismal font allegedly used by Saint Peter is conserved.

The frescoes in the crypt, where an altar contains the relics of Saint Prisca, are by Antonio Tempesta. Anastasio Fontebuoni frescoed the walls of the nave with Saints and angels with the instruments of passion. In the sacristy hangs a painting of the Immaculate conception with angels by Giovanni Odazzi, and on the main altar a Baptism of Santa Prisca by Domenico Passignano.

Mithraeum[edit]

The Mithraeum under Santa Prisca was first excavated in 1952-59 through Dutch excavations. The original building was erected ca 95 and served as Trajan's town house until his death. One hundred years later, a member of the imperial family took over the building and built a Mithraeum in one part of the basement while a Christian meeting place was established in the other part.

The original Mithrauem had a central aisle, a niche and side benches. Fine fresoces were found on the Mithraeum walls as well as a stucco Mithras the Bull Slayer, one of the main images of the Mithras cult. Renovations in 220 yielded a larger central cult room and the addition of new ones while the frescoes were covered with new, more elaborate paintings. [1]

These paintings were important to the development of understanding the Mithraic cult. Along with the typical bull slaying scene so common amongst the cult, other paintings depicted different cult rituals. For example, one painting shows a procession of figures wearing masks and different colored tunics holding what has been presumed to be a piece of liturgical equipment.[2] These paintings have been incorporated in the long-standing debate about the admittance of women into the cult.

Around 400, the Christians took over the Mithraeum, destroyed it and built Santa Prisca on top of it.

Cardinal-protectors[edit]

The Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Priscae is Justin Francis Rigali, Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia (US).

Previous Cardinal-Priests include:

  • Jacques Fournier, O. Cist. (18 Dec 1327 - 20 Dec 1334)
  • Zbigniew z Oleśnicy (8 Jan 1440 - 1 Apr 1455)
  • Juan de Mella (18 Dec 1456 - 12 Oct 1467)
  • Juan de Castro (24 Feb 1496 - 29 Sep 1506)
  • Niccolò Fieschi (5 Oct 1506 - 15 Jun 1524)
  • Andrea Della Valle (27 Mar 1525 - 3 Aug 1534)
  • Gianvincenzo Carafa (23 Jul 1537 - 28 Nov 1537)
  • Rodolfo Pio (28 Nov 1537 - 24 Sep 1543)
  • Bartolomeo Guidiccioni (24 Sep 1543 - 4 Nov 1549)
  • Federico Cesi (28 Feb 1550 - 20 Sep 1557)
  • Giovanni Angelo de’ Medici (20 Sep 1557 - 25 Dec 1559)
  • Jean Bertrand (16 Jan 1560 - 13 Mar 1560)
  • Jean Suau (26 Apr 1560 - 29 Apr 1566)
  • Bernardo Salviati (15 May 1566 - 6 May 1568)
  • Antoine Perrenot de Granvella (14 May 1568 - 10 Feb 1570)
  • Stanislaw Hosius (Hozjusz) (10 Feb 1570 - 9 Jun 1570)
  • Girolamo di Corregio (9 Jun 1570 - 3 Jul 1570)
  • Giovanni Francesco Gàmbara (3 Jul 1570 - 17 Oct 1572)
  • Alfonso Gesualdo di Conza (Gonza) (17 Oct 1572 - 9 Jul 1578)
  • Flavio Orsini (9 Jul 1578 - 16 May 1581)
  • Pedro de Deza Manuel (9 Jan 1584 - 20 Apr 1587)
  • Girolamo Simoncelli (15 Jan 1588 - 30 Mar 1598)
  • Benedetto Giustiniani (17 Mar 1599 - 17 Aug 1611)
  • Bonifazio Bevilacqua Aldobrandini (31 Aug 1611 - 7 Jan 1613)
  • Carlo Conti (7 Jan 1613 - 3 Dec 1615)
  • Tiberio Muti (11 Jan 1616 - 14 Apr 1636)
  • Francesco Adriano Ceva (31 Aug 1643 - 12 Oct 1655)
  • Giulio Gabrielli (6 Mar 1656 - 18 Jul 1667)
  • Carlo Pio di Savoia (14 Nov 1667 - 28 Jan 1675)
  • Alessandro Crescenzi, C.R.S. (15 Jul 1675 - 8 May 1688)
  • Marcello Durazzo (14 Nov 1689 - 21 Feb 1701)
  • Giuseppe Archinto (14 Mar 1701 - 9 Apr 1712)
  • Francesco Maria Casini, O.F.M. Cap. (11 Jul 1712 - 14 Feb 1719)
  • Giovanni Battista Salerni, S.J. (16 Sep 1720 - 20 Feb 1726)
  • Luis Antonio Belluga y Moncada, C.O. (20 Feb 1726 - 16 Dec 1737)
  • Pier Luigi Carafa (Jr.) (16 Dec 1737 - 16 Sep 1740)
  • Silvio Valenti Gonzaga (16 Sep 1740 - 15 May 1747)
  • Mario Millini (Mellini) (15 May 1747 - 1 Apr 1748)
  • Ludovico Merlini (21 Jul 1760 - 12 Apr 1762)
  • Francesco Mantica (23 Feb 1801 - 13 Apr 1802)
  • Francesco Maria Pandolfi Alberici (2 Jul 1832 - 3 Jun 1835)
  • Giuseppe Alberghini (6 Apr 1835 - 30 Sep 1847)
  • Miguel García Cuesta (21 May 1862 - 14 Apr 1873)
  • Tommaso Maria Martinelli, O.E.S.A. (17 Sep 1875 - 24 Mar 1884)
  • Michelangelo (Pietro Geremia) Celesia, O.S.B. (13 Nov 1884 - 25 Nov 1887)
  • Luigi Sepiacci, O.E.S.A. (17 Dec 1891 - 26 Apr 1893)
  • Domenico Ferrata (3 Dec 1896 - 10 Oct 1914)
  • Vittorio Amedeo Ranuzzi de’ Bianchi (7 Dec 1916 - 16 Feb 1927)
  • Charles-Henri-Joseph Binet (22 Dec 1927 - 15 Jul 1936)
  • Adeodato Giovanni Piazza, O.C.D. (13 Dec 1937 - 14 Mar 1949)
  • St. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (12 Jan 1953 - 28 Oct 1958)
  • Giovanni Urbani (15 Dec 1958 - 19 Mar 1962)
  • José da Costa Nuñes (19 Mar 1962 - 29 Nov 1976)
  • Giovanni Benelli (27 Jun 1977 - 26 Oct 1982)
  • Alfonso López Trujillo (2 Feb 1983 - 17 Nov 2001)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ M.J. Vermaseren and C. C. Van Essen. The Excavations in the Mithraeum of the Church of Santa Prisca in Rome. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965.
  2. ^ Griffith, Alison. "Completing the Picture: Women and the Female Principle in the Mithraic Cult." Numen Vol. 53, No. 1. Brill: 2006

References[edit]

  • David, Jonathan (2000). "The Exclusion of Women in the Mithraic Mysteries: Ancient or Modern?". Numen 47 (2): 121–141. doi:10.1163/156852700511469

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°52′58.89″N 12°29′1.82″E / 41.8830250°N 12.4838389°E / 41.8830250; 12.4838389