Thursday, July 4, 2013

Catacombs and Coliseum

Today's post will likely be brief because tomorrow is going to start especially early as we leave for mass in St. Peter's basilica. The day began with mass in some of the Christian catacombs, where we also were blessed to see the oldest known image of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, from the early 200s. It was very special to be among the burial grounds of so many Christians and really come to appreciate the ancientness of our faith.

Preparing for mass in the catacombs

A family burial room. You can see an image of the three wise men visiting Mary in the upper arch.

The oldest known image of the Virgin and Child. They're on the right, with a prophet pointing at them.

Then my half of the large group went to the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum was the center for worship, trade, and government in 1st century Rome, and much of it has been excavated and available to view. Then we got a guided tour of the Coliseum and we got to go to the lowest and highest spots in the structure. That we truly awesome. 

The Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum

The Arch of Titus contains the only existing image of the menorah from the Jewish temple from Jesus's day. This arch commemorates Titus's destruction of Jerusalem and his pillaging of the temple. Enslaved Jews built this arch. 

Part of a basilica (which was a meeting hall, not originally a church) from Constantine's era, I think.

In Michelangelo's era, the green door was at ground level. It has all been excavated since then.

Waiting for our Coliseum tour

Approaching the floor of the arena

The Coliseum from down low

The Coliseum from up high

The clouds, too, we're epic this afternoon

After that, the bishop hosted a dinner for the young adults of this trip, and apparently I still qualify for that group! We had dinner at a great restaurant that Bob Rodgers the local seminarian knew of. Hands down the best dinner of the trip. Now, it's earlyish to bed as we prepare for morning mass in St. Peter's Basilica. So excited!

Right before dinner, we visited the tomb of the apostles Philip and James, next door to our restaurant.

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