Basilica of St. Sebastiano fuori le mura

"Basilica of St. Sebastiano fuori le mura" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

Basilica of St. Sebastiano fuori le mura, Italy

Along Via Appia Antica on the site where, according to tradition, the bodies of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul were kept in time of persecution. The basilica of St. Sebastian was built, known originally with the name of Basilica Apostolorum. The basilica is the centre of the larger famous area of Palaeochristian cemeteries in Rome. The layout of the church, with a nave, rich decorations, the floor completely paved with graves was carried out starting from 4th century; in 5th century the basilica was for sure already named S.Sebastian, but in 826 fearing the Saracen raids, the Saint's body was moved to St. Peter, where it remained until 1218 when the Pope Onorio III moved it back to the church dedicated to him.

The current aspect of the basilica comes out of the interventions promoted at the beginning of 17th century. While the building of the Holy Sacrament Oratory or Albani Chapel, with square plan, apse and dome, rich in baroque style, dates the first half of 18th century. The façade is characterized by the ionic columns of the porch with three arches. Inside there is a unique nave and it is possible to admire the wooden ceiling with coats. The Chapel of Relics still preserves the prints supposedly belonging to Christ's feet at the moment of "Domine quo vadis"; one of the arrows that stroke St. Sebastian and the column of his martyrdom. Under the altar of St. Sebastian's Chapel there is the statue of St. Sebastian lying, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. From the inside stairs it is possible to enter the huge area of St. Sebastian's catacombs.

Via Appia Antica 136 - tel. 06 78 08 847

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