The persecutions of the early Christian communities in the first 3 centuries before Constantine came to power brought forth heroic stories of men and women who suffered torture and death for the faith. The cult of the martyrs was already extant but came into the light with the legalisation of the Catholic Church.
This tour visits some of the principal places of the early Catholic Christian communities and shows light on who they revered within them as holy women. First among these is obviously the mother of Jesus, Mary, ever-virgin. Devotion to the Blessed Mother is evident from the apostolic age and we begin our tour with a visit to one of the oldest Churches dedicated to Theotokos (Mother of God) in Rome containing, beneath its centre altar, wood from the manger in which our Lord Jesus Christ once lay. Of course, we're talking about the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore aka St Mary Major.
You will explore Mary's role in the early church and how the understanding of her mission has developed throughout the centuries as we continue on to the church of San Alfonso Ligouri to learn about the beautiful 15th-century Byzantine icon “Our Lady of Perpetual Help / Succour” also known as the Virgin of the Passion.
From there we meander to the Basilica of Santa Prassede built in the 8th century it holds some of the finest examples of medieval Christian art and holds part of the pillar upon which Christ was flogged. We learn who Santa Prassede was and about some of the other notable early Christian women.
You then continue down the hill to the early Paleo Christian Church of Santa Pudenziana to marvel at the early architecture and lives of these early Christian women and their witness.
Continuing on down the cobbled streets into the ancient district of Monti where Julius Caesar was born, you will stroll into a bohemian vibrant area of Rome that is often overlooked with tourists and contains authentic Roman culture. This is most evident at the Piazza of Santa Maria di Monti where we discuss the effect of the modern Christian women on the modern Italian culture. This is a great place to also get some food, a gelato, a drink of cold beer or wine, or simply sit in the square to watch the Italians go by.
Please note: This tour does not include hotel pick up and drop off service. This means that you will have to arrange your own transfers to reach the designated meeting point and start the tour. Meeting point: At Fountain in front of the entrance to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, Roma, 00100
Magnificent Major Basilica of St Mary containing relics of the Crib and icon painted by St Luke. Perhaps the oldest church in Rome dedicated to Mary
Duration: 40 minutes
Ancient Basilica over the house of St Prassede - one of earliest Christian women in Rome
Duration: 25 minutes
Ancient church over house of Pudens and ancient Christian woman - Pudenziana - where St Peter stayed in Rome.
Duration: 15 minutes
Old church full of history and art visited by countless saints.
Duration: 15 minutes
Gorgeous square full of young people relaxing and sitting on the steps of the fountain.
Duration: 5 minutes
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