Catacombe di Priscilla Church, Rome

"Catacombe di Priscilla Church, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

Catacombe di Priscilla Church, Rome

This are one of the most important catacombs in Rome, founded in the 2nd century A.D.. They are named after the Roman matron Priscilla from the Acili Glabroni family, who gave her territorial property for this construction. After the peace of Constantine, on the surface above the catacombs, Chiesa di S.Silvestro was erected, where numerous popes were buried.

The catacomb of Priscilla, named in all the ancient liturgical and topographic sources, has its modern entrance on the Via Salaria through the cloister of the monastery of the Benedictines of Priscilla.

The catacombs of Priscilla and the adjoining Catacombs of the Giordani were discovered in 1578, and unlike the other cemeteries, pillaged and destroyed, these ones were rich with the documentation, ornamentation and relics. The so-called Greek Chapel (from the Greek inscriptions found here) is an interesting funerary chapel with frescoes (3rd century) of biblical scenes and some stucco decorations. Here is also one of the most ancient paintings of Madonna (2nd century).

This famous known image of Madonna is on the ceiling of a niche dug out from the upper wall of a gallery for a venerated tomb one sees the Good Shepherd, a symbol of Christ amid trees with stucco trunks with painted branches bearing red and green flowers. At the far right there is a very evocative image of the Madonna and Child with a prophet in a tunic and pallium pointing to a star considered an allusion to the prophecy of Balaam: "A star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel" (Num 24:15-17). The style of the fresco and its location (in one of the oldest areas of the cemetery) contribute in dating the image to the beginning of the third century A.D. making it the oldest known image of the Mother of God.

Catacombe di Priscilla Church
Via Salaria, 430, 00199 Rome, Lazio, Italy
Shown By "Map C Zone" As "3"
Tel.: 06-86206272
fax.: 06-86398134
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