"Church and Catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (SS.Marcellino e Pietro)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Tuesday 12th July 2011
The Chiesa dei SS.Marcellino e Pietro (Church of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, sometimes called Petrus Exorcista) is a very old church which origins come from the 4th century. It should have probably been at much lower level in comparison with the present construction. Here close to it were built some of the most ancient hospices from which later grew Ospedale del S.Salvatore and of S.Giovanni.
The present aspect of the church on the Greek cross plan was given to it in 1751 during complete reconstruction ordered by Benedict XIV to architect G.Theodoli.
The church appears with an original cubical shape, articulated into pilaster strips with Ionian capitols. The façade opensup in the middle with a travertine surmounted by a triangular tympanum. The interior is built on a Greek-cross plan with four angular chapels and walls articulated into stuccoed Ionian pilaster strips. On the high altar one finds the eighteenth century altar piece carried out by Gaetano Lapis and portraying the “Martirio dei Santi Marcellino e Pietro”. This church also called SS. Marcellino e Pietro al Laterano (SS. Marcellinus and Peter at the Lateran)
The Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter are ancient catacombs situated on the 3rd mile of the ancient Via Labicana, today Via Casilina in Rome, Italy, near the church of Santi Marcellino e Pietro ad Duas Lauros. The catacomb is situated on the ancient Via Labicana, south-east of Rome, 3 kilometres from the walls of the ancient town. The network of subterranean galleries, 4.5 kms. long, covers an area of three hectares on three levels. The catacomb of San Pietro e Marcellino (Saints Peter and Marcellinus hereafter) extends to almost 3ha with 4.5km of subterranean galleries at three levels, containing between 20 000 and 25 000 burials. The subterranean catacomb remained a funerary space up to the beginning of the fifth century AD, but from then onwards the cemetery was gradually transformed into a pilgrimage site where only some privileged individuals could be buried next to the saints.
The complex, described in the sources as “inter duas lauros” from the ancient name of the place, includes the Catacomb of Marcellinus and Peter, the basilica of the same name and the Mausoleum of Helena, also known as Tor Pignattara. The access to the catacombs is from the courtyard of the basilica. The tombs of the two saints (with whom pilgrims were wont to worship Tiburtius, Gorgonius, the Four Crowned Martyrs and two groups of anonymous martyrs, all victims of Diocletian persecution) were at first two simple burial niches, then enriched by monumental marble decorations as wished by Pope Damasus (366-84), who seemed to have known the vicissitudes of Marcellinus and Peter from their own torturer. Damasus made the access stairs and an obligatory path for pilgrims, which wound above and underground.
The bodies of the two martyrs remained in the underground crypt until the papacy of Gregory IV (826), when they were brought to France and then to Germany. The great worship of the faithful is proved by numerous graffiti in the little apse and in the galleries that lead towards the tombs of the martyrs. Not only there are invocations in Latin, but also in Runic as a proof of the fact that the place for worship was attended by the Celts and the Germans. The catacombs, decorated by biblical scenes, are among the biggest of those present in Rome. Honorius I (625-38) built a little underground basilica with an apse to receive the more and more numerous faithful, he doubled the access stairs to the basilica and consecrated an altar above the two niches.
The new sanctuary dedicated to the Four Crowned was created between the V and VII centuries and connected to the first martyrial core with one-way paths marked with skylights. Moreover, to help the walk of the crowd of pilgrims, the secondary galleries and niches were blocked and new staircases were built. Eventually, Adrian I (last quarter of the VIII century) did the last extension of the building. Among the paintings is worth seeing the Epiphany and the two Magi.
The catacomb of saints Marcellinus and Peter in Rome has been undergoing systematic excavation since 2005. The research involves the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology (Holy See), the CNRS, the Ecole française of Rome, the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme of Aquitaine (MSHA), who are all collaborating on this project.
Notes: Catacomb of Marcellinus and Peter is closed for restoration. Information: Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church tel. 06.4465610.
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Church and Catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (SS.Marcellino e Pietro)
Church and Catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (SS.Marcellino e Pietro) is Shown By "Map L Zone" As "8"
Bus: 16 - 714 - 204 fest.
Church of Saints Marcellinus and Peter [Chiesa dei SS.Marcellino e Pietro (al Laterano)]
Via Labicana, 1 (Via Merulana), 00185
Zone: Rione Monti (Colosseo - S.Giovanni - S.Maria Maggiore) (Roma centro)
Hours: Open 7.00am - 12.00pm 04.00pm - 07.30pm. Masses: Weekdays: 07:00am - 07:30am (winter)- 08:30am - 07:00pm. Holidays: 07:30am - 08:30am (winter) - 10:00am - 11:00am - 12:30pm (winter) - 07:00pm. Days before a holiday:07:00pm.
Telephone: 0039 06 97840635.
Catacomb of Marcellinus and Peter (Catacomba dei SS. Marcellino e Pietro)
Via Casilina, 641 (Via di San Marcellino, 9), 00177
Quartiere Prenestino Labicano (Roma est)
Telephone: 0039 06 4465610
Fax: 0039 06 4467625