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SHQ in Rome: Day Five

By Camie Dewey

Day five of the trip took us to San Clemente, Case Romane, and San Gregorio. What we quickly learned about Rome is that what you see is usually hiding so much more than you can imagine. The Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano sits atop first century excavations, including the resting place of St. Cyril, and a pagan temple. The amount of history to be taken in is overwhelming, and being able to walk where early Christian influencers walked feels at times a bit surreal.

Case Romane offered a spectacular tour of ancient frescoes, forbidden altars, and a tour of the home of the martyrs John and Paul. Much of the excavated rooms are ancient shops and homes, filled in, remodeled, and alternately utilized throughout the centuries. It is plain to see where newer additions were added, and the vast wealth of the owner who made the site his home.

San Gregorio offered an incredible opportunity for us to celebrate The Holy Eucharist together. The Rev. Terry Pierce celebrated communion with the help of The Rev. Deacon Reagan Gonzales. It is our understanding that this is one of, if not the only time a woman has celebrated Eucharist in the monastery. It was an incredibly holy time for all of us, and we are grateful to the San Gregorio community for showing us so much hospitality.

January 18th kicked off the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Rome, and we celebrated by attending an Anglican Evensong at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. The Basilica is enormous—I imagine the Seminary of the Southwest campus could fit inside it three times over. Not only is it ornate, and incredibly beautiful, it also houses the tomb of St. Paul, author of the letters of our New Testament. No one in the group was expecting to see this, and were all stunned to kneel before the tomb, say a prayer, and take in the fact that we were in the presence of such a prolific figure. The service itself was beautiful. The music was offered by the choir at All Saints Anglican Church of Rome, and the Celtic bishops we had met earlier in the week were all in attendance.

 


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