The practice of early Roman Christians of visiting the tombs of the martyrs became the Lenten “statio” of processing and gathering at a different church each day. This gives us the name “Stational church”
— Feria VI post Cineres — Statio ad Ss. Joannem et Paulum —
We find ourselves today at the church in possession of the Passionist Order. It is a beautiful retreat in the city of Rome. As a personal reflection, from my years in Rome, I’d say there is something emblematic about this church in Rome. It calls back to the early Roman martyrs, Saints John and Paul, two Roman soldiers commemorated in the Roman Canon who converted and gave their life for Christ. It is built upon their former house and place of martyrdom. And then a modern community, founded in the 1700s, filled the basilica with the daily prayers of the Church, praising God day and night. And not only that, but they went out on the street to give of their food and their time to the poor. And they dropped anything, even a demand of the holy rule, at the request of a penitent, to attend to a soul in the confessional.
Some key features of the Basilica:
“The place of the martyrdom of Ss John and Paul within their own house.” In 1887, a member of the Passionist community, Fr Germanus of St Stanislaus, began to dig under the church, hoping to identify the precise location of the martyrs’ burial. His excavation led to the discovery of a complex of twenty rooms from several different periods (late-1st to mid-5th centuries), which can now be visited by the public.
The apsidal fresco of Christ in Glory added in 1588 by Pomarancio.
A fragmentary fresco of the 12th century behind the altar of the Blessed Sacrament.
Today is my birthday. If you could say a prayer for my intentions, my growth in holiness, and my discernment, I would greatly appreciate your charity in that regard. God reward you.