Church of Santa Susanna

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Via 20 Settembre, Rome, Italy

Church of Santa Susanna Rome Reviews

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Church of Santa Susanna Mar 10, 2013
Santa Susanna is the official American Catholic church in Rome. Run by the Paulist Fathers from the United States since 1922 with all services conducted in English, it sits just a few blocks from the American embassy near the site of the baths of Diocletian. Following the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass a guided tour of the church is conducted in English.

The crypt of the church was originally part of a Roman house built in 280 CE by Caius and Gabinus, two Christian brothers from Dalmatia related to the Emporer Diocletian. Their house held religious services at a time when Christianity was still an underground religion. Caius served as pope from 283 - 296, possibly in a futile bid to gain favor with the emporer. Gabinus and his daughter Susanna were executed by Diocletian in 293 when she refused an arranged marriage with a Roman general. In 330 a church was built on the site during the reign of Constantine with the remains of Gabinus and Susanna, now recognized as martyred saints, reinterred in the crypt. There is a hallway leading from the crypt that dead ends at a wall which once was the passage way to the Roman house above.

The church was rebuilt in the 9th century and again in the late 1500s, the current structure opening in 1603 in the Baroque style. Six large frescoes with scenes from the life of Saint Susanna by Baldassare Croce (1558 - 1628) adorn the nave. Pope Eleuterus (late 2nd century) is buried in the Chapel of Saint Lawrence to the left of the nave which also contains relics of Saint Genesius, the patron saint of actors. Another Roman martyr, Saint Felicity, is buried in the crypt. Associated with the church is a Cistercian convent next door.

I attended the Sunday Mass just before the conclave met that elected Pope Francis. Outside the church was a television news crew from my home town of Washington interviewing people about what they expected from the conclave. I guess I'm too ugly for t.v. since they ignored me. The retired Cardinal Bernard Law from Boston, the titular priest of the church, gave the homily. He is a controversial figure back in the U.S., allegedly involved in the cover up of sexually abusive priests. There were free chocolate donuts given out after Mass, which allowed me to stuff my face while shaking the hand of a controversial Cardinal of the Church with a news crew waiting outside. An interesting way to spend a Sunday morning in Rome.
The nave and altar
Excavation of the original Roman h…
Interior of Santa Susanna
Interior of Santa Susanna
13 / 13 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
yuness says:
Congrats Bill on your feature...Yesterday :-)
Posted on: Apr 20, 2014
cimtech says:
Bill - congrats on your featured, well deserved !
Posted on: Apr 18, 2014
vulindlela says:
Posted on: Apr 18, 2014
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