Station Church of Rome: 14

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 III post Dominicam Secundam — Statio ad S. Balbinam —

From the procession two years ago. when the Mass was celebrated at the proper station church.

It was Saint Balbina who found the chains of Saint Peter at the request of Pope St. Alexander I, for he said she would be healed of her infirmity if she would find the chains that bound the first Pope and kiss them (rather than kiss the chains of Alexander who was bound in prison under the reign of Trajan). She did so. It was on account of these chains that Saint Peter in Chains was built.

The father of Balbina converted and was sentenced to death. Saint Balbina is believed to have been sentenced to death under Hadrian in 130 A.D. She is one of the Saints that adorns the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Square.

Side apse of the church

The Mass for today, however, is celebrated at San Saba:

The historic origin of the religious site goes back to the year 645. In this year, fugitive monks from the monastery of St. Sabas (Mar Saba, Palestine), who had fled their home country after the Islamic invasion, came to Rome to attend the Lateran Council. After the council, these Sabaite monks settled down in an old domus (=noble estate) on the “Piccolo Aventino” (the smaller crest of the Aventine hill, which at this time was deserted due to the big decrease in Rome’s population. Here, they founded an eremitic cell. The Sabaites introduced the cult of St. Sabas to Rome. In ancient sources, their monastery however goes by the name cellas novas or cellaenovae, which refers to the cellae (=cells) of their mother abbey, Mar Saba.

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