Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Lenten Station At The Basilica Of The Holy Martyrs, Cosmas And Damian. Thursday Of The Third Week In Lent.,

Roman Text is taken from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.

Italic Text, Illustrations and Captions, are taken from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

Thursday of The Third Week in Lent.
Station at The Holy Martyrs, Cosmas and Damian.

Indulgence of 10 years and 10 Quarantines.

Violet Vestments.

File:Santi Cosma e Damiano - abside e altare.jpg

Altar and Apse of
The Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano,
Rome, Italy.
Photo: June 2002.
Author: iessi
(Wikimedia Commons)

This Thursday takes the name of "Mid-Lent Thursday", because it is the twentieth day in the middle of The Holy Forty Days. The Church brings to the following Sunday the sentiments of joy [on Laetáre Sunday, Rose Vestments can be worn instead of the Violet Vestments] which she wishes to fill our hearts. The Feast of Easter approaches, and we must courageously continue The Lenten Fast, already half completed.

It is in a Church, made of two Pagan Temples (of The Holy City and of Romulus), where rest the bodies of The Holy Martyrs, Cosmas and Damian, who were put to death during The Diocletian Persecution, that this Station is made.

The sick came in crowds to visit the tomb of these two brothers, doctors by profession, imploring them to restore their health. It was thus fitting to say this Gospel, relating to the cure of the mother-in-law of Simon Peter and of the sick of Capharnaum. It is also a Mass of Dedication, as the words of the Epistle show: Templum Domini est.

The Jews, who possessed the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem, began to believe that respect for the House of God sufficed to Sanctify them, and they considered themselves dispensed from observing The Spirit of The Law. Wherefore, the Church warns us that our Lent should not only consist of Prayers and Fasts, but should be accompanied by Exercises of Charity and Justice towards our neighbour.

Theodoric The Great, 
King of the Ostrogoths.
Author: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

We must imitate the example of Jesus, and during the whole of Lent follow Him, with The Holy Liturgy, in His Ministry of Redemption, Preaching The Kingdom of God, healing the sick, and casting out devils (Gospel). Let us love to listen to The Word of God: It will cure our Souls and banish from them the devil, who seeks to reign therein.

The Catechumens, who were preparing for Baptism, listened especially at this Season of the Year to The Word of God. They also received The Imposition of Hands, so as to be delivered from evil spirits and to obtain the cure of their Souls.

Through the Intercession of The Holy Doctors, Cosmas and Damian, in whose Church today's Solemnities are Celebrated, let us ask The Divine Physician that the severe Abstinence of The Lenten Fast may cool the fever of our passions and assure our Salvation (Collect, Epistle, Postcommunion).

Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian,
Rome, Italy.
Photo: September 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Riccardov
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is a Church in Rome, located in The Roman Forum. It is one of the ancient Churches called Tituli, of which Cardinals are Patrons as Deacons. The Cardinal Deacon of the Titulus Ss. Cosmae et Damiani is Giovanni Cheli. The Basilica, devoted to the two Greek brothers, doctors, Martyrs and Saints, Cosmas and Damian, is located in The Forum of Vespasian, also known as The Forum of Peace.

The Temple of Romulus was dedicated by Emperor Maxentius to his son, Valerius Romulus, who died in 309 A.D., and was rendered divine honours. It is possible that the temple was, in origin, the temple of "Iovis Stator" or the one dedicated to Penates, and that Maxentius restored it before the re-dedication.

Pope Felix IV presents Saints Cosmas and Damian
with the Basilica that he re-Dedicated to them.
Painting from SS Cosma e Damiano. Early-1600s, Tuscan School.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The ancient Roman fabric was Christianised and Dedicated to Sancti Cosma et Damiano in 527 A.D., when Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths, and his daughter, Amalasuntha, donated The Library of The Forum of Peace (Bibliotheca Pacis), and a portion of the Temple of Romulus, to Pope Felix IV (526 A.D. - 530 A.D.).

The Pope united the two buildings to create a Basilica devoted to two Greek brothers and Saints, Cosmas and Damian, in contrast with the ancient pagan cult of the two brothers, Castor and Pollux, who had been worshipped in the nearby Temple of Castor and Pollux

File:Palatine view of temple of romulus.jpg

Not really a Temple, but a Vestibule opening into a 
Hall of Vespasian's Forum of Peace, 
which now houses the Church of SS. Cosma e Damiano.
Photo: May 2005.
Source: Flickr
Reviewer: KenWalker
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Apse was decorated with a Roman-Byzantine mosaic, representing a parousia, The Second Coming of Christ at the End of Time. The bodies of Saints Mark and Marcellian were Translated, perhaps in the 9th-Century, to this Church, where they were re-discovered in 1583 during the Reign of Pope Gregory XIII.

In 1632, Pope Urban VIII ordered the Restoration of the Basilica. The works, projected by Orazio Torriani and directed by Luigi Arrigucci, raised the floor level seven metres, bringing it equal with the Campo Vaccino, thus avoiding the infiltration of water. Also, a Cloister was added. The old Floor of the Basilica is still visible in the lower Church, which is actually the lower part of the first Church.

In 1947, the Restorations of The Imperial Forums gave a new structure to the Church. The old entrance, through the Temple of Romulus, was closed, and the temple restored to its original forms; with the Pantheon, the Temple of Romulus is the best preserved pagan temple in Rome. A new entrance was opened on the opposite side (on Via dei Fori Imperiali), whose Arch gives access to the Cloister, and through this to the side of the Basilica.

Pope Urban VIII (1623 - 1644)
ordered the Restoration of the Basilica in 1632.
Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680).
Date: 1632.
Current location: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome, Italy.
Source/Photographer: Web Gallery of Art.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Next to the new entrance to the complex, there are rooms with the original Marble Paving of the Forum of Peace, and the wall, where the 150 Marble Slabs of the Forma Urbis Romae were hung. Through the Cloister, the entrance to the Church opens on the side of the single Nave. The Plan of the Basilica followed the norms of the Counter-Reformation: a single Nave, with three Chapels per side, and the big Apse, which now looks quite over-sized because of the reduction in height of the 17th-Century Restoration, framed by the Triumphal Arch, also mutilated by that Restoration.

The mosaics are masterpieces of 6th-7th-Century art. In the middle, is Christ, with Saint Peter presenting Saint Cosmas and Saint Theodorus (Right), and Saint Paul presenting Saint Damian and Pope Felix IV; the latter holds a model of the Church.

The importance of this Basilica, for the history of medicine, is not only related to the fact that the two brothers were physicians, and soon became Patrons of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and veterinarians, but also to the tradition, according to which, Claudius Galen himself lectured in the Library of the Temple of Peace (“Bibliotheca Pacis”). Furthermore, for Centuries, in this “medical area” Roman physicians had their meetings.

St Andrew Daily Missal (Traditional Mass)

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