Thursday, July 17, 2014

St. Alexis

This morning, I looked at my calendar and noticed that it is the feast day of St. Alexis (S. Alessio, in Italian) and thought, since I had the morning free and it was not too hot, that I would take a trip up to see the church dedicated to him.

Saint Alexis, it would seem, was a holy man from a senatorial Roman family. They were quite wealthy and Alexis was being prepared for an arranged marriage when he took off to pursue his vocation in service to God. He disguised himself as a beggar and moved to the eastern city of Edessa (Today's Urfa, in southern Turkey). For some reason, and accounts differ, he was identified and fled back to Rome where he was unrecognized by his family. They were, however, good Christians and, though not recognizing him, took him in and sheltered him. He lived, it is said, under their stairs for 17 years until his death.

There has been a church on this location in Rome since the 3rd or 4th century. The present church dates, predominantly, to the 16th century.

Pope Benedict XIII who funded the restoration of the Basilica

The beautiful cosmatesque floor dating to the middle ages and restored in the 18th century.

St. Alexis

The chapel of St. Alexis with the stairs under which he is said to have lived preserved (rather oddly) in the glass case above his image.

"I know that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living"
Entrance to one of the burial crypts.

The 16th century facade and Romanesque bell-tower (12-13 cent.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Settling in

I arrived in Rome on Friday and have spent the last couple of days unpacking,  working on recovering from jet-lag, and taking some time to walk around and get my bearings.

At the end of this week I will be heading to Assisi to begin my Italian lessons.

I dropped into a Vodafone store today and got what I need to make my cellphone work in Europe.  Hopefully this will lead to more regular posts in the near future.