Saturday, November 2, 2013


Within the so-called VIGNA SERAFINI in the Garbatella neighborhood
Arranged by Pope Damasus (366/384) on a previous pozzolana quarry to enhance the memory of the martyrs Sts. FELIX AND ADAUTTO of whom he probably found the relics
The present name of the cemetery dedicated to Commodilla, martyr of the third century, is the original one. However, between the fourth and fifth centuries, the name changed into that of the two martyrs Felix and Adautto
Many "pit" tombs dug vertically stacked up to twenty depositions, which make it unique among the Roman catacombs
There are three levels of which the second is the largest and most interesting, the "sandstone" level
There aren't any cubicles or arcosolia
Entering the catacomb it is possible to read "non dicere ille secrita a bboce" or "do not pronounce the secrets in a voice (loud)" an inscription of the ninth century, the oldest existing in Italian vernacular
With John I (523/526) the gallery that housed the tombs was enlarged, forming a SMALL EMI-UNDERGROUND BASILICA
From the first half of the seventh century the walls of the basilica were covered in graffiti which were signs of devotion for pilgrims: many in Anglo-Saxon language and some in runic characters
The walls were later adorned with paintings:
On the north wall "St. Luke with medical instruments in a leather bag" dated to 668/685
On the west wall "Traditio Clavium, with Christ over the globe, accompanied by Sts. Peter, Paul, Felix and maybe Adautto"
Alongside a painting with "The deceased Turtur together with Felix and Adautto" destroyed by vandals in the '70s and then repainted
In front "Virgin and Child Enthroned" painted at the end of the seventh century
Not far from the tombs of Felix and Adautto there is a privileged deposition among a group of graves surrounding it. It is believed to be without any substantial evidence the TOMB OF S. MERITA a very rare example in the Roman catacombs of a Christian tomb shaped as an oven
In 1953 it was discovered a new region with the CUBICLE OF LEO entirely painted in the years 380/390 with biblical scenes and "Triptych with Pauline episodes"

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