Sunday, September 1, 2019

St. PASSERA

S. PASSERA
Via S. Passera 1 - Magliana

Probably built in the fifth century AD on the ruins of a ROMAN MAUSOLEUM of the late second/early third century AD, still visible

The church is mentioned in the sources for the first time in the eighth century

The present church dates back to the thirteenth century

Here were kept the relics of the martyrs Sts. Cyrus and John, brought to Rome in the year 407. They were two doctors from Alexandria in Egypt killed during the persecution of Diocletian (284/305), which took place in the year 303

The Catholic Church does not include any S. Passera in the lists of saints and, according to historical sources, no saint has ever existed under the name Passera

The curious name Passera (sparrow) is mentioned in the sources only since 1317 and it comes maybe from a contraction of S. Prassede (St. Praxedes), the saint to whom the church was originally dedicated, and of whom a relic was preserved here

The name could also come from the phonetic corruption of the title Abbas Cyrus (father Cyrus), from which S. Abbaciro, given to the church

Over the centuries the term underwent a distortion in the popular language, becoming Appacero, Pacero, Pacera and, finally, Passera

APSE

Two orders of frescoes of the fourteenth century:

In the upper part “Jesus and Sts. Peter, Paul and John the Evangelist”

In the lower part “Virgin Mary and Child with Sts. Praxedes, Cyrus and John martyr with two images of laymen, probably the patrons”

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS

The underground of the church, buried after 1706, was rediscovered only in 1904

On the north wall there are some faded frescoes “Cycle of Goddess Dike” with the goddess holding a pair of scales, a bird and a boxer

On the south wall “Sheep and red lines”

In the vault “Large six-pointed and eight-pointed star and decorative motifs”

There are some unrecognizable images in the counter fa├žade
At the end of the thirteenth century a “Virgin Mary and Child” was painted here, but it was stolen in 1968

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