Wednesday, October 11, 2006

S Croce in Gerusalemme

Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

This photo of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme 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.

The Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is one of the ‘7 churches of Rome’, and a very popular location for weddings. On the day I visited it there were four wedding scheduled to take place, but this being Italy they were already running very late by midday. Unfortunately, because of the weddings, I was unable to take an image from inside the church, which was a shame as it is quite unusual and striking.

The True CrossThe name comes from the assertion that inside rests the cross on which Jesus was crucified, this having been ‘discovered’ from Jerusalem by Helena, the mother of Constantine. There are now so many fragments of this cross scattered throughout Christendom that they would fill a fair sized ship. At the same time she found the nails that were used and some of the thorns from the crown and the Titulus Crucius (board nailed to the cross by Pilate stating who Jesus was), all remarkably preserved under a temple to Venus in Jerusalem. In earlier times the church floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem, and thus the name.

The church is part of the Imperial palace complex of Helena. Inside is a Chapel of the Relics (Cappella delle Reliquie), which contains the passion relics described earlier and is open to the public. The church also contains several other notable works of art including the Apparition of the Cross on the Day of Judgement by Corrado Giaquinto. A series of 15th century frescoes in the apse tells the story of the recovery of the True Cross. Above these is a fresco by Romano, Christ Blessing (1492).

The façade shown here is Baroque, whith heavy Borromini influences topped by huge statues of angels. A full panoramic image showing the outside of S Croce in Gerusalemme is found on the Rome tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

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