Church of St. Pudenziana
In the fifth century, an artist created a masterpiece: a mosaic portraying Christ and the Apostles.
But he wanted to exalt their humanity rather than their holiness.
And so he just decided to portray the faces of actual people. Who lived their lives fifteen centuries ago.
The golden luminosity of the ancient mosaic is all around you, as you sit on a bench just in front of the apse of the Church of St. Pudenziana. The figures portrayed are far from you in time, more than one thousand and five hundred years. But their faces, so peaceful, so free from any tension or commotion, just as if they were only longtime friends sitting together in peaceful conversation, strike you with the familiarity of their countenances.
It seems to you that you might meet one of them just outside the church, a resident of today crossing the street or walking into a nearby shop. But their robes, the ancient fashion of their clothes, indicate that they lived in the fourth or fifth century, during the latest stage of the Roman Empire.
The whole composition is imbued with freshness and a sense of delicate gentleness, as in the gesture of St. Prassede and St. Pudenziana holding leafy crowns over the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul. A work of art to be enjoyed in the placid shadow and silence of this beautiful church.
Turning to the left, at the foot of the Esquiline, we find the interesting Church of Sta. Pudenziana, supposed to be the most ancient of all the Roman churches... being founded on the site of the house where St. Paul lodged, A.D. 41 to 50, with the senator Pudens [and his] younger daughter Pudentiana...
In the tribune are magnificent mosaics, ascribed by some to the eighth, by others to the fourth century, and considered as the best of all ancient Christian mosaics... SS. Peter and Paul [stand] with eigth other male figures, all in the amply flowing costume of ancient Romans.
Words from The Grand Tour
Augustus J. C. Hare, "Walks in Rome", 1875
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not far from the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore
Via Urbana, 160 - Rome
Monday to Sunday 08.30/12.30-15.00/18.00
free entry
Best visited Monday to Saturday (Sundays are dedicated to religious services attended by the Philippine community in Rome)