Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Lenten Station At The Basilica Of The Holy Cross-In-Jerusalem. Fourth Sunday 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.

Fourth Sunday in Lent.
Station at The Church of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem.

Indulgence of 10 years and 10 Quarantines.

Privilege of the First Class.

Violet, or Rose, Vestments.

File:Santa Croce in Gerusalemme facade.jpg

English: Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem.
Italiano: Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome.
Latin: Basilica Sanctae Crucis in Hierusalem.
One of the masterpieces of the "barochetto romano", 
by Pietro Passalacqua and Domenico Gregorini, from 1743.
Photo: February 2006.
Author: Anthony M. from Rome, Italy.
(Wikimedia Commons)

During this week, the history of Moses is read by The Church in The Divine Office, in which two main lines of thought are summarised. On the one hand, we see Moses rescuing God's people from the bondage of Egypt and bringing them safely across The Red Sea. On the other, we see him nourishing them with Manna in the desert; foretelling to them that God will send "The Prophet" (Gospel), in other words, The Messias; giving them The Law of Sinai; and leading them towards The Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. There, one day, Jerusalem (Communion) will rise from the ground with its Temple made after the pattern of The Tabernacle in the desert, and thither will the tribes of Israel go up to sing of what God has done for His people (Introit, Gradual, Communion). "Let my people go, that they may sacrifice to Me in the desert," said God to Pharao, through Moses.

In today's Mass, we see how these types have been fulfilled. For the true Moses is Christ, Who has delivered us from the bondage of sin (ibid.); and made us pass through The Waters of Baptism; Who feeds us with His Eucharist, of which the multiplication of the loaves is a type, and Who has brought us into the true Jerusalem, The Church, Figure of Heaven, where we shall sing forever the "Canticle of Moses and of The Lamb (Apocalypse) in thanksgiving to The Lord for His Infinite Mercies to us.

It is, therefore, quite natural that The Station, today, should be made in Rome at The Church of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem. For Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, who lived on Mount Coelius, in a Palace known as The Sessorian Mansion, with the purpose of placing there some Relics of The True Cross, converted it into a Sanctuary, which in some sense represents Jerusalem in Rome.

Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, 
Rome, Italy.
Photo: September 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Introit, Communion, and Tract, speak to us of Jerusalem, compared to Mount Sinai by Saint Paul in the Epistle for today. There, will the Christian people best raise their song of joy, "Laetare" (Introit, Epistle) on account of the victory won by Our Lord on The Cross at Jerusalem, and there, most easily, will be roused the memory of The Heavenly Jerusalem, whose Gates have been opened to us by The Death of Christ.

It is for this reason, that, formerly on this day, it was the custom, in this same Church, Solemnly to Bless a Rose, the Queen of Flowers. For, as we are reminded by the forms used for the Blessing, in the Traditional practice of Christian iconography, Heaven is usually represented by a Garden, beautiful with flowers. For this Blessing, Rose-Coloured Vestments were used, and on this day a Priest may Celebrate Mass and The Office in Vestments of this colour.

Rose-coloured Vestments can be worn on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday in Lent)
and Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday in Advent).

Hence, this custom was extended to The Third Sunday of Advent, "Gaudete", or, "Rejoicing" Sunday, which, coming in the middle of Advent, stimulates us with a Holy Joy, to continue with courage our toilsome preparation for The Coming of The Lord. And, in its turn, "Laetare", also "Rejoicing" Sunday, is a halting place in the midst of The Lenten Observance.

English: The Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem,
Rome, Italy.
Italiano: Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Rome).
Painting by Corrado Giaquinto, from 1744, 
"The Virgin presents Saint Helena and Emperor Constantine to The Trinity".
Photo: February 2006.
Author: Anthony M. from Rome, Italy.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Here, in The Church of Calvary at Rome, that is, of The Cross, our hope, The Church, sends a Ray of Light upon our Souls to stir us up to persevere in the struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil, until The Great Feast of Easter is reached.

"Rejoice, rejoice with joy," we are told in the Introit, for, having died to sin with Our Lord during Lent, we are shortly to rise with Him by The Paschal Confession and Communion. The Gospel speaks at one and the same time of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, symbols of The Eucharist and of Baptism, which were formerly received on the same occasion at Easter, and, in the Epistle, allusion is made to our deliverance by The Sacrament of Baptism, which The Catechumens formerly received at this Season.

And, if we have had the misfortune to grievously offend Almighty God, we shall recover our freedom by means of our Easter Confession. In the Epistle, the story of Sara and Agar becomes thus an allegory, reminding us that Christ has freed us from the bondage of sin.

Every Parish Priest celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.

Pope Lucius II (1144 - 1145) restored the Basilica.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem (Latin: Basilica Sanctae Crucis in Hierusalem, Italian: Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme) is a Roman Catholic Parish Church and Minor Basilica in Rome. It is one of The Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome.

According to Tradition, the Basilica was Consecrated around 325 A.D., to house the Passion Relics brought to Rome from The Holy Land by Saint Helena of Constantinople, mother of The Roman Emperor, Constantine I. At that time, the Basilica floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem,

thus acquiring the Title "in Hierusalem" - it is not Dedicated to The Holy Cross, which is in Jerusalem, but the Church itself is "in Jerusalem" in the sense that a "piece" of Jerusalem was moved to Rome for its Foundation. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Crucis in Hierusalem is Miloslav Vlk.

The Church is built around a room in Saint Helena's Imperial Palace, Palazzo Sessoriano, which she adapted to a Chapel, around the year 320 A.D. Some decades later, the Chapel was turned into a true Basilica, called the Heleniana or Sessoriana. After falling into neglect, the Church was restored by Pope Lucius II (1144-1145). It assumed a Romanesque appearance, with a Nave and two Aisles, a Belfry and a Porch.

The Church was also modified, in the 16th-Century, but it assumed its current Baroque appearance under Benedict XIV (1740-1758), who had been The Titular of the Basilica, prior to his elevation to The Papacy. New streets were also opened to connect the Church to two other Major Roman Basilicas, San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore. The façade of Santa Croce, designed by Pietro Passalacqua and Domenico Gregorini, shares the typical Late-Roman Baroque taste with these other Basilicas.

Archduke Albert,
Albert was The Archduke of Austria, Albrecht der Fromme, Erzherzog von Österreich München, 
Peter Paul Rubens, who had arrived in Rome by way of Mantua in 1601, was commissioned by Archduke Albert of Austria to paint an Altarpiece for the Chapel of Saint Helena.
Source: Alte Pinakothek.
Author: Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (1553 - 1608).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Relics at Santa Croce were once in the ancient Saint Helena's Chapel, which is partly under Ground Level. Here, the Founder of the Church had some earth from Calvary dispersed, whence the name "in Hierusalem" of the Basilica. In the Vault, is a mosaic designed by Melozzo da Forlì (before 1485), depicting Jesus Blessing, Histories of The Cross and various Saints. The Altar has a huge statue of Saint Helena, which was obtained from an ancient statue of Juno, discovered at Ostia. Mediaeval Pilgrim Guides noted that the Chapel was considered so holy, that access to the Chapel by women was forbidden.

The Apse of the Church includes frescoes telling the Legends of The True Cross, attributed to Melozzo, to Antoniazzo Romano and Marco Palmezzano. The Museum of the Basilica houses a mosaic icon from the 14th-Century. According to the Legend, Pope Gregory I had it made after a vision of Christ. Notable is the tomb of Cardinal Francisco de los Ángeles Quiñones, by Jacopo Sansovino (1536).

Peter Paul Rubens, who had arrived in Rome by way of Mantua in 1601, was commissioned by Archduke Albert of Austria to paint an Altarpiece with three panels for the Chapel of Saint Helena. Two of these paintings, Saint Helena with The True Cross and The Mocking of Christ, are now in Grasse, France. The third, The Elevation of The Cross, is lost. Before his marriage, The Archduke had been made a Cardinal in this Church.

St Andrew Daily Missal (Traditional Mass)

Available (in U.K.) from

Available (in U.S.A.) from

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...