santa cecilia in trastevere

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

A 9th-century apse mosaic depicting Christ’s second coming. Cecilia was a Roman upper-class woman who owned a house in Trastevere in which site she founded a “church”. She was martyred in the 3rd century CE and according to legend the current church is built on the site of her home. Be that as it may there actually is a Roman domus under the building and excavations can be visited. Pope Paschalis under whose reign  the church was built is portrayed far left. Rectangular halo means that he was actually alive when the building was finished. Cecilia and her husband Valerian can be seen on the other end of the row.

Rome, July 2015

Guido Reni (1575-1642)
“St Cecelia” (1606)
Oil on canvas
Baroque
Located in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, United States

Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. It’s written that as the musicians played at her wedding she “sang in her heart to the Lord”. While the details of her story appear to be fictional, her existence and martyrdom are considered to be historical fact. She is said to have been beheaded with a sword. An early Roman Christian church, Santa Cecilia, was founded in the fourth century in the Trastevere section of Rome, supposedly on the site of the house where she had lived. A number of musical compositions are dedicated to her, and her feast day, November 22, became the occasion for concerts and musical festivals.