Roman Sunrise was at 6:47 and Colors will sound at 18:43. The Ave Maria is still pinned at 19:00.
The walls of Rome provide both endless fascination and deep contempt for its moronic youth, some of whom seem to have a rather canine need to piddle on the walls with their tiny sprays. Hence, you can find treasures in the inscriptions, many in Latin, and monuments to the piety of generations past, along with the dimwitted scrawls of puerile Roman blockheads.
I would bring back public corporal punishment, perhaps the stocks, for those caught defacing public and private property.
But I digress.
Here’s a sight to exemplify my point.
The inscription concerns an indulgence granted for the recitation of litanies and their application to the souls in Purgatory.
Since it was the Feast of St. Mark, Pope, I headed to the church wherein that Pontiff is interred, indeed, San Marco near the Capitoline Hill.
Of course as you draw near you notice this monstrous thing.
Tucked into the corner is one of the “talking statues”. This is Julia. In days past, these statues were used by various groups to post written opinions on public matters. The statues “talked” to each other. The most famous is Pasquino, near the Piazza Navona.
San Marco, named after the Evangelist, and associated with the Venetians. Remember, that Mark’s tomb is in San Marco in Venice.
The facade is reminiscent of Old St. Peter’s from the time of Constantine.
From one angle it is hard to see San Marco, because Mussolini planted the trees in the square specifically to block its view.
In the loggia we find a pair of medieval lions. Again, think Mark.
“I’ve got a secret!”
This spiffy well has an inscription which says that anyone who sold water from the well would be “anathema”. Would that that applied to graffiti vandals.
Other traces of our past. Note the sarcophagus relief with the wavy lines, which represent the strigil, an instrument used by athletes to scrape off dirt and oil, thus a symbol of the struggle of the Christian life.
This is quite dear. I take the pitcher to have to do with baptism.
Greek was used by the early Christians in Rome. We put a stop to that! Whew.
And now a message from Pope Paul.
How would you like to untangle this?
Down we go into the basilica.
This was a low lying area beneath the looming Capitoline Hill, center of pagan Roman religious life. Many churches sprang from the houses where Christians gathered. This is perhaps a place where Mark the Evangelist lived and worked, thus the dedication. In 336 Pope Mark built this place. Mark was the first Pope not to die a martyr.
The tomb of St Mark, Pope, under the mensa of the altar.
The mosaic in the apse is fabulous. You see the Risen Christ in imperial purple holding the inscription “I am the Resurrection”. Courtly sheep process to the safe pasture by the Lamb. Christ is flanked by Pope Mark, in red with pallium, St. Agnes, so important to the Romans, and St Pope Agapitus (hey! Fr. Pasley!). On the left at Felicissimus and Mark the Evangelist, who is bringing in Gregory IV, alive at the time the mosaic was made, so he has a square halo.
You see the arms of Paul II, who built the portico and this ceiling, which is the oldest wooden ceiling in Rome.
Heading out, stop and have a drink of cold water at one of the special fountains made, again by Mussolini, to symbolize the different regions of the city. They are distinctive.
In the evening, I put my head into the Chiesa Nuova for a little bit of a weird “oratorio” in honor of John Henry Newman: readings from his writings punctuated by selections of Bach, involving flute, both solo and orchestral. Well performed, but the choices made no sense to me in that context. Lots of people!
And so my day came to its end. And I still have a cold.
Tonight I will meet with my tailor, defiantly to discuss a new cassock.