Friday, October 13, 2006

Domine Quo Vadis - Rome

Domine Quo Vadis (also called Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis), Rome

This photo of the Domine Quo Vadis is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from around Rome linked to an interactive map.

Full 360° panorama of the Domine Quo Vadis

The name of this building intrigued me as soon as I saw it on the map of Rome I was using. The idea of naming a house ‘Lord where are you going’ was not one I had come across before. Domine Quo Vadis is situated about 800m from the St. Sebastian Gate (Porta San Sebastiano) outside the Aurelian Walls south of Rome on the Apian Way, one of the most important roads in ancient time. It is in fact a church, which was undergoing renovation at the time I visited so I was unable to take any images inside.

The official name of the church is Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis, though virtually no one refers to it as such. The name Domine quo vadis comes from an encounter St. Peter reputedly had with Jesus when he was fleeing Rome. According to legend, Peter asked the question of Jesus who replied that he was returning to Rome to be crucified anew.

There has been a sanctuary on the spot since the 9th century, but the current church is from 1637 and façade added later on in the 17C. It may have previously been the location of Campus Rediculi, a temple to the god or Return. Situated at the junction of the Via Ardeatina with the Apian Way (one of the main consular routs of Rome) it was the last place where a traveler could look back and see the walls of Rome.

Inside the church are a pair of footprints sunk into a marble slab. These are claimed to be the impressions made by Jesus when he mat Peter on the Apian way. It is most likely that this is in fact a pagan offering made in thanks for a successful journey before the church was ever here.

In the catacombs of Saint Sebastian there are inscriptions about a "Domus Petri" (house of Peter) which may support a claim that Peter lived in the area when in Rome. The catacombs are nearby up a hill.

An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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