Cecilia, virgin and martyr - November 22nd
St Cecilia (d. Sicily) (Relics: Rome, Italy)
First Class Relics
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
(Saint Cecilia in Trastevere)
Piazza di Santa Cecilia 22
*This church is located in the southern part of Trastevere. It is built over the ruins of the house that St Cecilia had lived in prior to her martyrdom.
*In 821 the body of St Cecilia was exhumed from the Catacombs of San Callisto by St Paschal I (d. 824) and returned to this church. Today her body rests within the crypt under the main altar.
*The recumbent statue of St Cecilia below the main altar was completed by Stefano Maderno in the late 16th century. A gash on her neck recalls the miraculous events surrounding her martyrdom. Tradition claims that St Cecilia was condemned to execution first by drowning and then by decapitation. Both attempts failed. The second method, however, left her greatly wounded. The executioner struck her neck three times with a sword but being unable to sever her head fled in fear. She survived for three days, offered all she had to the poor, and then expired.
Catacombs of San Callisto
Via Appia Antica 110/126
*These catacombs are located south of the Aurelian Walls.
*St Cecilia was originally buried in these catacombs. In 821 her remains were removed and taken to Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.
*It was at this location in the year 258 that Roman soldiers burst into a chapel and arrested St Sixtus II and four other deacons while they were celebrating the liturgy. St Lawrence (d. 258) was not among this group; however, a legend holds that St Lawrence was able to speak to St Sixtus just before the pope was martyred. In this conversation St Sixtus said to St Lawrence, “You shall follow me in three days.” St Lawrence then in three days went on to suffer his own martyrdom by being burnt alive on a gridiron.
*St Sixtus II (d. 258), St Pontian (d. 235), St Fabian (d. 250), St Cornelius (d. 253), and a number of other early popes were originally buried here within the Papal Crypt. The remains of St Sixtus II were later moved to San Sisto Vecchio, the remains of St Fabian to San Sebastiano Fuori Le Mura, and the remains of St Cornelius to Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Churches of Honor in Rome
San Luigi dei Francesi (Saint Louis of the French)
Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi 5
*This church is near Piazza Navona.
*The second chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to St Cecilia. The altarpiece within this chapel is entitled The Ecstasy of St Cecilia. It was completed by Guido Reni and is a copy of a work done by Raphael. Frescoes completed by Domenichino line the sidewalls and the vault. They depict various scenes from the life of St Cecilia.
San Carlo ai Catinari (Saint Charles at the Catinari)
Piazza Benedetto Cairoli 117
*This church is near the Largo di Torre Argentina.
*The third chapel on the right side of the nave, located in the transept arm, is dedicated to St Cecilia.
Sant’Agnese in Agone (Saint Agnes in Agone)
*A marble relief to the left of the main sanctuary depicts the death of St Cecilia. It was completed by Antonio Raggi in the 17th century.
*Also a relic of St Agnes’ skull is present in a chapel on the left side of the nave. According to tradition she was martyred here in 304 AD.