Sunday, March 26, 2006

Levada's New Church

Folks, I've just arrived back from attending (some) of the taking possesion ceremony at Cardinal Levada's new titular church, S.Maria in Domnica. I'll do two short posts in connection with this - first about the church itself, then some photos of the ceremony.
The first thing to note is that S.Maria in Domnica is a diaconal title - Cardinal Leveda is a Cardinal Deacon, the lowest of the three orders of Cardinal. Normally, Cardinal Deacons are Cardinals who serve the universal church in the Roman Curia. This is appropriate because the deacon traditionally had adminsitrative duties as part of his reponsability.
The Church used to be a diakonia - one of the Church's centres of charitable distribution in early Christian Rome. This particular diakonia is assoiated with the martyr-deacon Laurence, one of the most honoured saints of the Roman calendar. Cardinal Levada made reference to this fact in his homily and refered to the example of Catholic chariable giving as being one of the ways in which the light of Christ overcomes the darkness of the world. The sanctuary of S.Maria in Domnica is decorated with frescos of St. Laurence's charitable activities.

The apse mosiac is also quite fine - it dates from the reign of Pope Paschal I (9th century)
The Church is also called S.Maria alla Navicella - St Mary's at the Small Boat, due to the small statue of a boat outside the Church. The current sculpture is a renaissance copy of an ancient sculpture given to one of the Popes as a votive offering.

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