Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent Calendar: Roman Gate 15

Gates, lift high your heads,
raise high the ancient gateways,
and the king of glory shall enter.
Psalm 24: 7 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Entry Gate to the Basilica of San Clemente

The courtyard of the church, seen through these gates, dates from the 12th century.

This church is one of the under-rated and often missed spots in Rome. It has four construction levels that span 22 centuries. Under the churches there are ruins of a Mithraic temple and a Roman house destroyed during Nero's fire. The first church on the site was built in the 4th century, and above it was constructed the 12th century church that gives shape to the basilica today. An 18th century restoration presents an impression of the baroque first, but as you look around, you see the wonderful elements from the 12th century, including the canopy over the altar and the amazing mosaic in the apse.

Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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