Pre-Tour: Rome, Italy – Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This morning we began with a visit to St. John Lateran – the first Christian church built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century.  In ancient times the site was occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani.  The porticoed structure found in front of the palace has frescoes from the late 4th century depicting the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus and the woman of Samaria, Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

St. John Lateran:

1-St. John church Lateran-1 1-St. John church Lateran-3 1-St. John church Lateran-2 1-St. John church Lateran-4Then we drove to the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine  hill, high above the Tiber River. It was built on the site of the 4th century house of Sabina, a Roman matron who was beheaded because she had converted to Christianity by her servant, who was stoned to death.

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At the Basilica of Santa Sabina, there’s a 5th-century door which contains 18 panels of biblical narrative carvings.  In particular the Crucifixion scene above the door in the top left panel is the earliest known depiction of that subject in the world.

Earliest depiction of the crucifixion:

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At park outside Basilica of Santa Sabina:

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Our final visit was to Santa Maria in Trastevere – one of the oldest churches in Rome and the first one dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus.

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Views of Rome:

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The rest of our group arrives tomorrow.

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